Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari could not pretend that the deplorable security situation in the country did not exist.
Gbajabiamila expressed dismay that, across the country, people were dying “callously in ways that you can only find in countries without security forces.”
The Speaker stated this at a meeting of the joint House Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, with the service chiefs, yesterday, in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila noted that inasmuch as he appreciated the efforts of the service chiefs in tackling the security challenges confronting the country, there was the need for them to redouble their efforts and think outside the box to come up with novel ideas to contain insecurity in the country.
The House had last week called for the resignation of the service chiefs over their inability to curb the rising wave of insecurity across the country.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke before the meeting went into a closed session, told the service chiefs that the lawmakers were under pressure from their constituents over the insecurity bedeviling the country.
“We all know the situation in Nigeria today, we can’t hide from it. We can’t shy away from it. We cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist.
“We spent practically the whole day on Wednesday (January 29) discussing the security situation in Nigeria, as expected. Simultaneously, the Senate was doing the same thing without us comparing notes.
“So, it was a natural reaction to what was going on in the country today. Back home, our constituents are on our necks. People are dying every day, they are dying callously in ways that you can only find in countries without security forces. But we know that you guys are doing a lot.
“We must think outside the box; we must take the battle to these criminals whatever they are. Like I said at the State House the other day, Nigerians are anxious, but I do understand the limitations of the Armed Forces.”
Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, while speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, said the parley afforded the lawmakers an opportunity to get first-hand information on the security situation in the country.
Babajimi, who stated that members of the committee were largely satisfied with the presentations of the service chiefs, said they would report back to the entire House.
“We were to a large extent satisfied with what they said. As I said, we are also going to table what they said before parliament. We are going to discuss, we are going to have a very robust discussion on how to assist, to end this war at the shortest possible time.” he said.
Addressing newsmen after the closed-door meeting, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, said he explained the concept of community policing to lawmakers and how everyone could play a part.
“I appeared before the Senate and briefed them on the concept of community policing. If you can remember, last year, we sensitized the country on the need to adapt community policing in the country and the concept is to give policing back to the community; let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that are there that can lead to the commission of crime, and then we work with the community to solve the crime.
“We believe that everybody comes from a community and in the community, you know who and who is there. Taking policing back to the community will help in reducing crime to the barest minimum.
“So I have explained the concept of community policing to the Senate, which involves a partnership with communities and there are various communities. You can have traditional institutions as a community. You can have the National Union of Road Transport Workers as a community.
“You can have the media as a community and various communities that you can have a partnership with. If you are talking about a partnership, we are talking about problem-solving. We need to solve problems that evolve in the community.
“What we mean here is that we scan the community to find out what are the indices that can lead to the commission of a crime or a crime that has been committed already. We analyze the problems and then we look for solutions and the responses that are available, then we deploy resources to deal with the problems and then, subsequently, we re-evaluate all our responses to see how we can adjust to solve the problem.
“In doing this, we need to capacitate our officers so as to key into the process. This is essentially what I explained to the Senate.
“Security issues are fluid or dynamic. At a stage where you have a rise in crimes, we re-strategise and deal with them and everywhere will be stabilised. And for a period of time, you will see stability in crime situations. But at a stage, you will see the criminals re-strategising and coming out to commit a crime.
“What we are saying, especially with the concept of community policing, is that fighting crime should not be left to law enforcement agencies alone. It should not be left to security personnel alone. Everybody should be involved. What are the things that lead to the commission of a crime? Are all issues to be dealt with by security agencies alone? No.
“There are other arms of government that needs to deal with. State Governors, Local Government Chairmen should take up their responsibilities. People that are committing these crimes there are reasons that make them commit these crimes. If it is a lack of employment, if it is a lack of education or those issues that will require intervention by the government, the state Governor should take responsibility. Local government chairmen should take responsibility. Not that everything will be left to security agencies alone.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly will assist the Police through legislations.
He also urged IGP to be proactive operationally in protecting the lives and property of every Nigerian.
“There are issues. Across the country, there is an illegal circulation of firearms and we need to encourage synergy between the Federal Government and State Governments
“The Senate thereafter resolved to support the Police Force through legislative interventions. The Police Force was further encouraged to be more proactive operationally to protect the lives and property of our citizens,” he said.