Senate decries overwhelming of security agencies, violation of COVID-19 guidelines/ Lawan

The Senate on Tuesday expressed worry over the country’s security agencies which, it noted, are being overwhelmed by several challenges.

During the day’s plenary, Mandiya Bello had in his motion titled: “The rising spate of armed banditry attacks and persistent killings in Katsina State” warned the country’s rising insecurity portends danger to the security agencies.

His words: “Even while Katsina State, like the rest of the country, is groaning under the current plight of the coronavirus pandemic, the plight of indigenes of the state is daily being compounded by the devastating activities of the marauding bandits, which have left many people in complete fear and despair.

“Apart from attacks that have been going on for months, which were mostly unreported, very recently, between May 5 and 6, armed bandits carried out multiple attacks on several communities in Faskari, Kankara, Sabuwa, Dandume, Batsari and Jibia local government areas of the state during which the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Aminu Abdulkareem, was shot and the head of administration of Danmusa was kidnapped together with his son to unknown location. The DPO is yet to recover from the serious gunshot injuries inflicted on him by the bandits.

“About the same period, armed bandits invaded several communities in Kankara Local Government of Katsina State, killing so many people, while carrying out other heinous crimes, including cattle rustling, kidnapping, and also causing forced displacement of the villagers from their ancestral homes. These communities are becoming desperate and may resort to self-help leading eventually to state of anarchy.”

Reacting after the adoption of the motion for consideratiom, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who presided over the plenary, called for a reform in the country’s security sector to enable the security agencies carry out their duties effectively.

Meanwhile, the upper legislative chamber has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and other security chiefs to enforce the ban on interstate movement imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The order was consequent upon a motion tagged: “Need to enforce Presidential Order banning interstate movement” sponsored by a former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.

According to Ekweremadu, the country cannot make progress with its fight against the coronavirus pandemic if people continue to disregard the ban on interstate movement.

He said: “I am alarmed at the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which currently stands at 4,641 cases and 150 deaths. I am also alarmed that confirmed daily cases of COVID-19 by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is now in hundreds. I am seriously worried by the numerous reports and trending videos on the flagrant breach of the curfew and interstate travel. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has raised the alarm over what it described as ‘increased level of interstate movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food-carrying vehicles.’ I am conscious of the fact that the nation’s security agencies, particularly the police, have the responsibility to enforce law and order, including the presidential ban on interstate movement. I am worried about reports of alleged complicity in the said breaches by those who are supposed to enforce compliance with the directives of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

“We condemn in strongest terms the barefaced breach of the presidential order on interstate movements and enjoin Nigerians to strictly comply with these orders for their own safety and to quicken the nation’s victory over the COVID-19 pandemic.”

On his part, Lawan warned senators against violation of the social distancing directive as well as other measures put in place to combat spread of COVID-19.

“Distinguished colleagues, as leaders and lawmakers, please, let us ensure that the principle of social distancing is observed. The principle is not observed at the back seats, going by the way distinguished colleagues are seated. Please, let the principle be reflected straight away by ensuring the required gaps between the seats,” he said.