Lawan Hamidu, Abuja.
The Speaker House of Representatives Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila has cancelled a scheduled meeting with security chiefs over failure of Service Chiefs to turn out for the meeting.
The meeting was to discuss and proffer solutions to challenges facing the security services in dealing with insurgencies and other security challenges in the country.
Mr. Gbajabiamila who expressed dis-appointment with the service chiefs, however commended the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Security and the Comptroller General of Immigration Service for honoring the invitation.
He said it was a sad development since all arms of government are supposed to work in unison for the development of the country and the benefit of Nigerians.
He said: “Let me first of all commend Mr President for the commitment he has shown in trying to stem the spate of insecurity in the country. Mr President has to have people he would delegate those powers to as the Commander-in-Chief as dictated by our constitution.
Mr. President has delegated those powers to the Service Chiefs, so we decided to call this meeting, as representatives of the people. Let me commend the Inspector General of Police for being here personally. Let me also commend the DG DSS and the CG Nigerian immigration for being here.
Let me say, as a House, as an institution, I cannot understate my disappointment or our disappointment that the rest of the Service Chiefs are not here.
Again, like I said, we called this meeting because it was inevitable. It was important. You can see members from Borno State here. There is a crisis in Borno State right now.
We wanted to hear from the Service Chiefs to know what was going on, how the House can help and what the problems are as well as what are the challenges; to talk about strategy, to talk about what we need to do.
I’m sure you really didn’t expect the House to fold its arms while people in Maiduguri and other parts are being killed. There’s a migration now from local governments in Borno State to Maiduguri.
Here we are, we call the Armed Forces coordinated by the CDS, who’s not here, with Service Chiefs being represented. I’m actually at a loss.
For me, I believe my colleagues are in tandem with this. In the absence of the Service Chiefs, the CDS, the COAS, the CNS and the CAS are not represented as far as we’re concerned.
I’m sorry, when I said not represented, as far as I’m concerned, the heads are not here, the Service Chiefs are not here. I know one or two of these Service Chiefs were somewhere yesterday night. I am aware of that.
I can almost say it shows a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. Yes, we need to talk about that. What do you need? What is required? I’m almost embarrassed. To tell you the truth. I’m almost embarrassed.” Speaker Gbajabiamila who was angry said.
The Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idis Wase while supporting the Speaker’s decision described the incidence as an insult to his person and the institution of the legislature, saying the House and the National Assembly will not condone this kind of attitude.
The Deputy Speaker maintained that “In strong terms, I condemn those who have deemed it fit not to be here. As far as I’m concerned, as a Chairman of Committee, I never attended to any agency, in the absence of the chief executives and the accounting officers, and I know that these Service Chiefs are the accounting officers in their various agencies. It is our practice, tradition, and I am insulted.”
The Chief of Defence, Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Staff were represented at the meeting, but the lawmakers insisted that the service chiefs must attend the re-scheduled meeting on Monday.