The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday met President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, over widespread insecurity in the country
The one-hour closed-door meeting between President Buhari and the lawmakers is coming just days after the two chambers of the legislature passed resolutions calling for urgent solutions to the security situation of the country.
Recall that last week the House had urged the President to sack the service chiefs.
On its part, the Senate sought for the declaration of emergency on insecurity.
The two presiding officers went to Buhari yesterday to submit the resolutions and also used the opportunity to discuss other issues.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting, both Lawan and Gbajabiamila admitted that the case of the service chiefs was a key issue mentioned among the general discussions on insecurity.
When Lawan was asked whether the sacking of the service chiefs was discussed with Buhari, he replied, “We discussed everything that matters as far as the issue of security of this country is concerned.
“We believe that it is imperative that we are able to provide those necessary equipment and welfare for the Armed Forces of this country and the police, to ensure that they are able to operate and perform efficiently and effectively.”
When asked what Buhari’s response was, Lawan said the President agreed with the National Assembly that the security situation required urgent attention.
He stated, “Mr. President was forthcoming. Of course, as the leader of this country, he is more worried than anybody else about the situation.
“So, we are on the same page that we should be able to do whatever it takes to ensure that the security agencies are able to perform better than they are doing now.”
When asked further whether he thought replacing the service chiefs would bring immediate solutions, Lawan replied that the security situation had reached a “tipping point” that needed the collective intervention of all Nigerians, including whatever decisions the government had to take to bring succour to the people.
On his part, Gbajabiamila stated that “changes” would be witnessed by Nigerians soon, flowing from the discussions with Buhari.
He stated, “Major progress was made in this discussion, which is a meeting that lasted over an hour and I believe Nigerians will begin to see traction. They will begin to see changes.
“You can be sure that concrete steps were taken in that direction.”
The speaker also admitted £that the majority of opinions supported the sacking of the service chiefs.
However, Gbajabiamila noted that the current security challenges of banditry, kidnapping and murders were internal security matters, as against aggression by external enemies.
He argued that while internal security was the responsibility of the police, external aggression was the job of the armed forces.
The speaker added that this left the government in a dilemma as to whether changing the service chiefs would address the internal security challenges.
He stated further, “Is the President as concerned as we are? Probably more. Is the President looking to do something about it? Yes.
“The question of security is uppermost in his mind and he opened up to us and you must understand that some communications are privileged, but suffice to say that the President is concerned and he intends to do something about our challenges.
“Opinions are divided; the generality of the opinion is that the service chiefs should go, that was evident in our debates in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, bus sometimes you don’t want a knee-jerk reaction.
“Many of us identify that something drastic has to be done, there is also the school of thought that says since we are talking about banditry, kidnapping and murders, what have the armed forces got to do with that, anywhere in the world?
“So the question then arises that if he changes the service chiefs, does that address the issues of kidnapping and banditry? The Army, Navy and Air Force are outfits set up to tackle external aggression.
“It is the police that is set up for internal security, such as we are all witnessing.”
When also asked whether he thought it’s the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, that should be fired, the speaker again gave a diplomatic answer, saying that many Nigerians felt that he had done well, but could do better with the right support in terms of funding and equipment.
He added that a committee was raised that would periodically review the security situation.