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Insecurity: Service Chiefs blame judiciary for freeing suspects

ABUJA- The Service Chiefs on Tuesday in Abuja appeared before the House of Representatives at plenary on a sectoral debate for MDAs, recounting activities aimed at combating the surging insecurity challenges in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that those present included the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala.

Others were the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun.

In his submission, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Gen. Chris Musa, however, blamed the judiciary for releasing arrested Boko Haram suspects after being arrested by the military.

“I have been in the Northeast; there were a lot of Boko Haram elements that have been captured. We have kept them for five/six years. We the armed forces can arrest but cannot prosecute.

“Some of them have been found wanting, but no prosecution.

“We are keeping them for this lengthy period, everyone is accusing the Armed forces in keeping them against their human rights, but we cannot prosecute.

“Another aspect of the judiciary is that you use all your efforts to make an arrest, you hand them over, and before you enter your vehicle, the man has been released on bail.

“Now you have risked yourself in doing that; by the time he is released, he goes to tell the people the person that arrested him. Now your family members or you are at risk,” Musa disclosed.

He said it was getting to a state where the security forces would not want to make any effort.

”We have the issue in the South-South, the last ship that was arrested, was arrested 10 years ago; the ship went and changed its name, changed its colour and came back again.

”By the time they handed over the ship and before you know it, it is released,” according to him, stressing that this is an area that must be looked into.

“We must have a special court to look into it. That is why we arrest and destroy them because the longer we keep them, it becomes a problem,” said the CDS.

Musa said they often come under pressure to release them.

He said that at the moment, about 140,000 terrorists have surrendered and are awaiting disarmament, assuring that there is no single territory currently being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.

Musa said the activities of Simon Ekpa, the Spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) currently hiding in Finland, were doing a lot of damage to the Southeast region of the country.

He alleged that Ekpa was being protected by Finland, adding that there is a need for the government to engage the government of Finland and possibly invite its ambassador to Nigeria.

Musa said that while the military and other security agencies in the country were doing their very best to ensure that there is peace in the Southeast region, the comments and activities of Ekpa were sabotaging such efforts.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taureed Lagbaja, highlighted some of the challenges facing the Nigerian Army, which include funding, logistics, and manpower.

On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, said the major challenges facing the Nigerian Air Force in the conduct of air operations include the rising cost of aviation fuel.

Others include delay in the release of funding, complexity in targeting, porous borders and manpower disposition.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, urged the House of Representatives to ensure adequate appropriations for the service to acquire resources to enable it to achieve its mandate.

Ogalla said the resources were basically required in terms of fleet renewal, aircraft and support facilities.

“The Navy is just about 30,000 for now. We are making efforts to expand the size of the navy and train them adequately to be able to meet its objectives.

“With adequate support, we should be able to tackle activities of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries, irrespective of the weather. “

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, had earlier said they are focusing on security given the unprecedented challenges of the past decade.

Abbas said that over the last few years, the country has made significant progress in tackling insecurity through improved investment by the federal government.

He commended the gallantry and professionalism of servicemen and women, while saluting the courage of the armed forces and law enforcement personnel.

The speaker emphasised that an appearance in person by all invited heads of MDAs was required throughout this sectoral briefing.

He added that the House would not accept proxy representation for any reason whatsoever, adding that notices were sent well in advance to forestall any excuses. (NAN)