Impeachment threat: Senate’s interface with Security Chiefs as damage control




Amid impeachment threat against President Muhammadu Buhari, the  Senate leadership had an emergency interface with Security Chiefs last week Wednesday. TAIYE ODEWALE reports

The impeachment threat 

Penultimate week before the Senate and the House of Representatives embarked on their annual long recess, threats to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over lingering security challenges facing the country were made by the minority caucuses of the two chambers.

First to blow it open was the Senate minority caucus led by the Minority Leader, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda (PDP FCT), through press briefing after storming out from the Senate plenary.

At the briefing, attended by Senators across the various political parties in opposition, including some from the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC ) like the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Bulkachuwa Adamu Muhammad (Bauchi North), President Buhari was given six weeks ultimatum to stem the tide of worsening security situation or face impeachment proceedings.

Twenty four hours after, precisely, penultimate Thursday, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives led by Hon Ndudi Elumelu, at another media briefing, concurred to the impeachment threat slammed on President Buhari by its senate counterpart.

Damage control approach by Senate Leadership 

Exactly a week after the threats, the leadership of the senate led by Senate President himself, Ahmad Lawan, had five hours close-door meeting with the security chiefs on how to urgently solve the security problems bedeviling the nation.

Lawan at the meeting attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farooq Yahaya, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, Director General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi etc; said “the situation at hand is most frightening and requiring urgent solutions”.

The frightening situation, Lawan stressed, must be addressed very urgently as Nigerians want immediate results.

 His words: “This particular session of the interaction between us is to look into where we are today and probably this current position where we are is most frightening because it is like there is nowhere to hide, no where to go. 

“Insecurity is everywhere and especially, if it is coming to the point of dislocating the security situation where the government is quartered, we will really review and see what more we have to do and how differently we have to do.

“Our population is largely peasant. Most of our people are in the rural areas and they live their lives by going to farms. We all know this. In many parts of the country today, that is an herculean task.

“My belief is that we can do better to secure the rural areas, the so-called ungoverned space, at least for our population who go to farms to earn their living.

“Where our agricultural productivity is drastically going down, that will complicate the security situation because the most ordinary Nigerian cares more about what he or she or what the family will eat, and of course, all other things are secondary.

“We have problem with our economy to some extent because of insecurity. No foreign direct investment or not as much as we would ordinarily attract to our country.

“Our prayer is to start seeing serious, remarkable and dramatic changes from today.

“We hope that our discussions will give us the opportunity to consider other things or other areas or ideas that we didn’t have before.

“Therefore this meeting today is to look into where we are now and how to get out of it not in six months or a year from now but from today.”

Irabor’s response 

Expectedly, in his response to the Senate leadership’s concerns,  the Chief of Defence Staff said commitment of officers and men of the various security agencies in securing the country is not in any way being compromised and will not be compromised .

He described the interface as 

an in-house discussion based on mutual concern.

His words: “I believe that the wisdom of the Senate President and Senate leadership to convene this meeting is born out of the fact that issues of national security must be seen from a collective perspective and that whatever the situation is, there is always room for rubbing of minds to make contributions to the effect that we have a more secured environment where every Nigerian will have a sense of security in truth, such that our individual and collective aspirations could be achieved.

“Quite a lot has happened, quite a lot has been done, quite a lot is being done to ensure that we improve on the security situation across the country.

“The commitment is there. It’s very profound. I believe that as we go into discussions on specifics, it will be clear that no one is leaving any stone unturned in redressing all the imbalances within the security environment”.

Outcome of the meeting 

Though none of the security chiefs spoke to journalists after the meeting but the Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East ), who was in attendance along with the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, Minority Leader, Philip Aduda, Deputy Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Deputy Minority Whip, Chukwuka Utazi and Chairmen of various committees on security; told journalists, that the various security agencies were on top of the situation of securing the country and her peoples.

But within the last seven days , signs of any dramatic change from the frightening situation has not shown as there are pockets of bandits attacks across the country with attendant loss of lives and abduction of victims.

However with six weeks to the resumption of National Assembly from the long recess, the promised change of situation for better by the security chiefs may be achieved and felt by Nigerians which will invariably fizzle out the impeachment threat against President Buhari. 

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