– The Sun News

Insecurity: Senate summons NSA, AGF

• Rejects moves to probe Wike, Rivers Assembly

Fred Itua, Abuja 

Senate has mandated its committees on National Security and Intelligence, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to summon the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr. Babagana Monguno and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami over claims that the Kogi House of Assembly has passed a law to establish a vigilante group.

Senate, however, rejected moves to investigate the Rivers State House of Assembly and Governor Nyesom Wike, for passing a law to set up a similar vigilante group, named Neighbourhood Watch.

Dino Melaye, who is in a running battle with Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, brought up the matter on the floor of the Senate, yesterday.

While Senate adopted the only prayer that the NSA and AGF be invited to discuss ways of disbanding the vigilante group in Kogi, the Red Chamber rejected an additional prayer by Senator Magnus Abe, wherein he called on the same committee to extend its tentacles to Rivers state.

“In my own state, Rivers House of Assembly has passed a law arming Neighborhood Watch. The law gives the governor the power to control this group. This is not a Kogi problem. Rivers state is also involved.

“Our constitution does not currently support the creation of state security forces. We should get the AGF involved. As of now, we have not made any amendment to allow states make the kind of laws they are making now. If we allow this kind of thing to go on in Rivers state, we cannot tell where this will lead to,” Abe said.

His position was countered by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said since the upper chamber is not in possession of a copy of the law passed in Rivers state, lawmakers should restrict themselves to Kogi.

He said: “We have very few number of policemen. Soldiers have been brought in. Even the soldiers are over-stretched. Our security agencies are over-stretched. Our security forces cannot protect our people. I am an advocate of state police. 

“If the National Assembly can amend the 1999 Constitution (as amended), to make room for state police, we can regulate what states are doing.

“We should begin to take seriously the issue of state police. We should come up with state police,” Ekweremadu added. 

He was supported by the Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi.

She argued that “since we are not talking about states where there are serious security challenges, we should always confine ourselves to the issues at hand so that we will not water down the issue.”

But, Senator Victor Umeh hailed the success of vigilante group in his state.

He called on lawmakers to deal with the issue in states where governors abuse the process.

Said Umeh: “It is unfortunate that Kogi state has been in the news for sometime now.

“Vigilante services have worked in some states to maintain peace. I will give you Anambra State for example. The vigilante group was established there 9 years ago. It was set up to tackle the insecurity in the state. 

“I want us to treat the issue of Kogi state as a special case.

“There was an order from the IGP, recently, that small arms be withdrawn from vigilante groups.

“My people told me that they are not comfortable with the plan to withdraw arms from vigilante groups. While we condemn vigilante groups in some states, others should be allowed to stay.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, told his colleagues that soldiers deployed to Taraba State, are beating up people and dragging them out their houses forcefully.

In a petition he laid on the floor of the Senate, Bwacha alleged that rather than maintain law and order, “the soldiers are abusing the rights of our people.”

Thereafter, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for further investigations.

The committee is expected to submit a report in two weeks.


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