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Insecurity: Army isn’t supposed to be involved in civil security — Senate

Access Bank

THE Senate, yesterday, raised the alarm that following the Army’s involvement in internal security operations across the country, it has become overwhelmed and overstretched.

According to the Senate, the Army is facing its own challenges and by the nation’s constitution, ought not to be involved in civil security arrangements.

The Senate spoke as the bad wind of insecurity continued to blow across the country, yesterday with a driver shot, and nine persons, including a mother and three children kidnapped in multiple attacks in Ondo State.

This is even as Kaduna State government and the Army yesterday dismissed reports that 15 persons were killed by bandits on Abuja-Kaduna highway, saying only two persons were killed in the attack on motorists on Sunday.

Also, three persons were feared dead in clashes in Lagos of which the police said 12 suspects have been arrested

Meanwhile, the leadership of the House of Representatives yesterday met with the heads of security agencies in the country behind closed doors over the recent nationwide protests against police brutality and human rights abuses, tagged #EndSARS.

Speaking yesterday in Kaduna during a visit to various Army formations in the state, as part of the annual oversight obligations of the Upper Chamber, Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, All Progressives Congress, APC, Borno South, said the Army was overstretched providing internal security in 34 states of the country.

Ndume, who was accompanied by four other senators at a meeting with the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Usman Mohammed, said the Army must be supported to enable it succeed.

Army’s overwhelmed

Ndume said: “The Army is overwhelmed. Imagine, they operate in about 33 to 34 states across Nigeria. They’re very overstretched. They don’t have the number. The Army we used to know is very different from the Army of today. But we are hoping that things will get better.

“We are delighted to be here. We insisted on this oversight visit for some reasons. The Army is facing its own challenges. By our constitution, the Army isn’t supposed to be involved in civil security.

“But we have security challenges across every part of the country. The Army had to be drafted to provide internal security. Right now, the Army provides internal security in about 33 states in the country. We can’t sit in Abuja and talk.

“We need to see for ourselves. We are hoping that the Army will get back to its feet. As a country, we are known to have a formidable Army. But these days, we are worried.”

On the recent kidnappings along Kaduna-Abuja road, Chairman, Ndume, who urged the Army to go after bandits and kidnappers in their various hideouts, said: “In the last few months, we have had peace along the Kaduna-Abuja road. But on Sunday, what happened is worrisome. Along Birni Gwari, the security situation is also alarming. Unfortunately, the Army doesn’t have the number needed to provide security.”

Earlier in his remarks, the GOC, General Mohammed, told the lawmakers that contrary to media reports, only two persons were killed along Kaduna-Abuja road on Sunday and not 15, adding that the two victims were a driver and a woman.

The GOC said nine persons who were kidnapped by the bandits were freed on Sunday by soldiers who immediately swung into action as soon as the attack happened.

He promised to go after the armed bandits and kidnappers during the Christmas period, adding that more camps belonging to bandits would be located and destroyed in the coming days.

General Mohammed continued: “We want to appreciate the support of your committee. We are succeeding because of your support. We need your support to keep succeeding. We are not unmindful of the security challenges.

“Right now, we have three operations going. There is one along the Kaduna-Abuja road. We are going after bandits during this Christmas period. We will flush them out. We have been seeing their recent activities along that road. We will keep doing our best.

“We always go after the bandits in their camps. We have dislodged them from their camps. On Sunday, only two persons were killed. Nine persons were kidnapped. We went after them and the kidnappers left their victims and ran away.

“It is false to say that 15 people were killed. That’s not true. We will keep dislodging them. We will redouble our efforts and ensure that they don’t have their way.”

A member of the Senate Committee on Army, a retired Army Colonel, Senator Bulus Amos, APC, Gombe South, noted that many villagers and peasants in areas where bandits operate, often serve as informants, and urged the Division to be more tactical in its operations.

His words: “Most people who are farmers, bike riders and villagers are informants. These bandits have informants everywhere. Soldiers need to go after them. If they meet them face-to-face, soldiers will finish them.

‘’Soldiers need to disguise and find a way to get the people to cooperate with them. These bandits live with us. They’re part of us and they live in communities. We need to do more.”

 

Vanguard

 

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