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Senate invites security chiefs for update on fleeing terrorists in North East

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The Senate has invited the country’s security chiefs to brief it on the activities of fleeing terrorists in the North East to prevent the spread of terrorism.

The summon followed a motion by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) on the recent attack on Nimbo Community in Enugu State by persons suspected to be herdsmen.

Sen. Utazi who relied on a point of order to make the matter an issue of public concern, prayed the Senate to approve his seven-prayer motion.

“There is wide spread fear of more attacks as there has been recurring attacks on communities in Uzuani Local Government Area.

“About three months ago, a neighbouring community to Nimbo was attacked, scores of people killed, houses, barns, farm produce set ablaze.

“The regularity and audacity of these attacks has become a pattern and the whole people of Uzuani are facing a clear danger of extermination.

“I am worried that Boko Haram terrorists fleeing the sustained onslaught of the military North East, may be fleeing South West amassing around communities and wreaking havoc in their way.

“We are witnessing terrorism in the southern part of Nigeria beginning with the South East.

“By some reports, herdsmen attacks killed about 80 people in 2013 and by 2014 it had risen to 1229.”

He called on the Federal Government to also check the activities of the herdsmen.

Some of the senators, who contributed, also expressed concern over the possible escalation of the crisis and the possibility of reprisal attacks.

Sen. Ben Bruce said that if the problem was not checked, it could lead to a situation where ordinary people would retaliate and thus lead to full blown crisis.

“That day is here and that day is now when retaliation begins, the civil war was fought in a conventional passion one army is facing another army.

“You are going to have a guerrilla warfare; it is not a war anybody can win; it will cause a destruction of Nigeria.

“We must urge the Nigerian government to take action to disarm cattle rearers.

“As far as I am concerned you need a license to own a gun; nobody has a right to own a gun without a license.

“This is a very serious issue, motion after motion has been presented here from the North, from the South, from the East to the West everybody is affected.

“What is going to happen now people are going to read religion and ethnicity into this fight.

“Once that happens illiterates who did not have the knowledge that we have will start retaliating and that day is now.”

In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekwerenmadu, expressed concern over the possibility of reprisal attacks in parts of the country.

He, therefore, called for a quick solution to the problem.

“There are too many idle men and women in Nigeria today, who are frustrated by economic realities.

“They would make themselves available for any possible issues or mishaps that this would give rise to.

“So I believe that the earlier we nip this in the bud the better for all of us.

“We want a very peaceful country and we need to work towards that and as leaders we must be held responsible if there is breakdown of law

and order because the primary purpose of government is the protection of lives and property of the ordinary people.

“We must be able to come up with immediate approach to this problem and then mid-term solutions and finally a long-term solution.”

Ekwerenmadu, who presided over plenary, prayed that the country’s security chiefs be invited to brief the Senate on the movement of fleeing terrorists to ensure that adequate measures were taken to prevent terrorist activities from spreading all over the country.

After observing a minute’s silence in honour of all those killed in similar attacks, the Senate set up an adhoc committee to begin public hearing next week towards finding lasting solutions to the problem.

“Invite security chiefs to brief the Senate on the movement of fleeing terrorists to ensure that measures are put in place to forestall a spread of terrorist activities all over the country.

“Those in support of this prayer say aye; those against say nay, the ayes have it.

“The Adhoc Committee is made up of Sen. Ali Ndume that is the Leader of the Senate as the Chairman, Sen. Ishiaka Adeleke representing South West, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa representing South East.

“Sen. Abdulahi Adamu representing North Central: Sen. Sani Shehu representing North West and Sen. Ben Bruce representing South South.

“The adhoc committee must start work by next week for the public hearing on this very important topic.”

The Senate also resolved to send a delegation to Enugu to commiserate with the community and people of Enugu State.

It also charged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the affected communities while calling on security agencies to improve their intelligence to stem the matter.

Other contributors urged for solution to the problem before it escalates like the Boko Haram insurgency did.

They commiserated with the people of Enugu State and all other states that have been affected by suck attacks.

Some of them called for state policing, community vigilante groups and more security intelligence to check the movement of the attackers no matter the time of the day.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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