By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has called for a review of the procurement process for the security agencies.
Lawan made the call on Wednesday at a Special Summit on National Security organised by the House of Representatives.
The Senate President said it was a very worthwhile Summit adding that the essence of the summit was to look for ways of improving the performance of the Armed forces and other security agencies in the country.
“While the National Assembly should work hard as it has always done to provide more resources, I also want to say we must review procurement processes by the security agencies.
“While we are not going to open up how they do these things to the public, but as parliamentarians who approve the funding, we must understand how these procurement processes are undertaken.
“If the processes require that we change the way we do that, because of inefficiencies, we should go ahead and do so, because it is not enough to just put in more resources, but how the resources are deployed within the economy, with prudence and efficiency.
“I want to once again appeal to us in the National Assembly. The security agencies, we know are doing their best, but I think it is high time we work with the executive arm of government to look at the architecture of our security system for better performance.
“When I mention architecture, I also want to mention that all levels of government are responsible for securing the lives and property of Nigerians. The federal, states and local governments. And of course it is a well-known fact that the local government does not function,” Lawan said.
Commenting on the security situation in the country, the Senate President said “what started as insurgency in 2009 or so in the North Western part of Yobe has now snowballed into full scale insurgency in the entire north east.
“What was not known to us in the North West is now today the home of banditry and kidnapping. The North Central, as we all know is not safe. It suffers clashes between the herders and our farmers.
“And the recent introduction in the south east is another serious threat to the existence of this country where government institutions are targetted, our police and security agencies are being killed on a daily basis. Our institutions and buildings are burnt.
“I believe that these are threats, not only to those areas, but the entire nation. Our armed forces are doing their best. I must commend our armed forces and other security agencies for doing so much with the little we are able to give them.
“The National Assembly has always been on the side of giving the kind of support, either legislative, or the kind of financial support that our armed forces and indeed all other security agencies require, even though we have our limits.”
Lawan said both the Legislature and the Executive should collaborate more to address the security challenges.
“This is the time for the legislature and executive arm of government to come even closer in finding solutions. I want to take this opportunity to appeal and ask the executive arm of government to implement whatever would be the outcome of this summit.
“A criminal has only one name and that is criminal. No criminal should have comfort in his ethnic enclave. Whoever, or where ever that person is, once he is a criminal, he is simply a criminal and must be dealt with in the appropriate manner regardless of where he or she is coming from.
“It is also important that we provide resources, more resources for our security agencies to enable them better tackle the criminal activities across the country and our armed forces can do that. But the fact remains that we have not enabled them enough.
“Today in this country, there is no better investment than investing in the security of our people. We must ensure that we protect the lives and property of our people. This is the essence of government.
“The local government system does not function and that takes away a lot from our efforts at providing security for lives and property of people. And when I mention the local government system not functioning, our traditional rulers, who had played major roles in protecting us today have no function more or less.
“It is only when there are problems, we look for them. In the northern part of the country and I daresay all parts of Nigeria, our traditional rulers play key roles in ensuring security in their domains. Why can’t we look at the possibility of providing and official function for them, even if it is in advisory capacity in the constitution?” Lawan said.