By Linda Ike
Heads of Security Agencies are calling for more funding to address issues of insecurity across Nigeria.
The Security Heads were at the sectoral briefing organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Sectoral debate is part of Legislative agenda of the 10th house of Representatives to engage security heads and ministries, Department and Agencies for the betterment of the country.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chief of Defence Staff, General, Christopher Musa said the military and other security agencies in the country were putting more efforts to ensure that insecurity is combated in Nigeria.
General Musa pointed out the challenges faced by the security agencies in combating insecurity in the country,.especially in the South East where the efforts of the security agencies are sabotaged by the activities of Simon Ekpa, one of the leaders of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) currently hiding in Finland.
He also blamed Judiciary as a hindrance to the war against insecurity. He said: “I have been in the North-East; 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.
“Another aspect of the judiciary is that you use all your effort 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.
“We have the issue in the South-south. A lot of the ships, the last ship that was arrested was 10 years ago, the ship went and changed its name, changed its colour and came back again. By the time you hand over the ship, before you know it, it is released. I think that is one area we must look into. We must have a special court to look into it.”
Musa also mentioned the porous national borders as one of its big challenges as people come in and out go without any checks, which is responsible for the movement of light weapons and small arms.
He further blamed correctional facilities for insecurity, saying: “In the North East, when we were debriefing some of arrested Boko Haram members, they were telling us how, from the prison, they could plan operations out in the field.
“They pass funds across. They use some of the warders there. We are not saying all of them are corrupt. They use their accounts and the deal is that anyone whose account is used, they share it 50/50. Those are the challenges.”
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla requested the House of Representatives to provide appropriate funding for the service to fulfill its duty.
He stated that the resources are mostly needed for fleet renewal, aircraft, and support facilities.
He said, ” We are working to increase the size of the navy and train it appropriately to accomplish its objectives.
“With adequate support, we should be able to combat oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and illegal refineries, regardless of the circumstances.”
Chief of Army staff, Lieutenant, General Taureed Lagbaja, also said funding, logistics and manpower are the challenges facing the Nigerian Army.
Also, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar highlighted he major challenges facing the Nigerian Air Force in the conduct of air operations include rising cost of aviation fuel, delays in release of funding, complexity in targeting, porous borders and manpower disposition.
On his part, the Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun, said the Nigeria Police Force has been facing a lot of challenges, such as underfunding and limited resources, low morale and officer welfare, corruption and misconduct as well as outdated technology:
Egbetokun said, ” I met on ground a police force that is battered,.suffered for the last two years police is grossly inadequate, have poor logistics, no functional vehicles,and training of offers is not adequate.”
He stated that no amount of arrest will solve the insecurity issues in Nigeria, appealing for collaboration with the Legislature and support from Nigerians to achieve the police mandate of securing the citizens.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, said the focus of the debate on security was necessary, given the unprecedented challenges of the past decade.
Abbas said that the sectoral debates will provide the House with an opportunity to scrutinize the policies, activities and plans of each MDA, and understand better the challenges facing government agencies and areas for legislative interventions.