President Muhammadu Buhari Monday had a close-door meeting with the President of the Senator Mr Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the security challenges in the country calls for closer working relationship between the executive and legislature.
He said there is the need to find a way out of the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the country finding long and intermediate solutions to the malaise.
“We met with Mr. President over the security issues in the country and other matters of governance. The recent security challenges this country is facing requires that we work very closely.
“We had the debates in the two chambers of the National Assembly last week and resolutions were taken and we have come to discuss with Mr. President on the way forward.
“what we feel about some of these security challenges and also to ask him what he thinks we should do.
“Even though in the Senate we have our adhoc committee who are to work and fashion out the specific measures we believe should be taken, but the interim, there is need for us as a government to ensure that we provide a way out to tackle the security challenges.
“In the intermediate and the long term, we should be able to come up with some strategies, the road map to ensure that we secure the lives and properties of Nigeria,” he said.
When asked if the issue of the service chiefs sack came up in their discussion with the president, Lawan said: “We discussed everything that matters as far as the issue of security if this country is concern. We believe that it is imperative that we are able to provide those necessary equipment and welfare for the armed forces of this country and the police, to ensure that they are able to operate and performed efficiently and effectively.”
On what was the president’s response, he said: “Mr. President was forthcoming, of course as the leader of this country he is more worried than anybody else but the situation. So we are on the same page that we should be able to do whatever it takes to ensure that the security agencies are able to perform better than they are doing now.”
On wether changing the security chiefs would solve the insecurity problems, Lawan said security concerns every single citizen and all hands must be on deck to nip the crisis in the bud.
“In matters of security of course as leaders we are suppose to lead but when it concerns security every single citizen matters in this. So it is for all of us, citizens and leaders to ensure that we are playing our part as it is necessary,” he said.
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said the president was worried about the insecurity in the country saying action is being taken.
“Is the President as concerned as we are? probably more. Is the President looking to do something about it? Yes.
“The question of security is uppermost in his mind and he opened up to us and you must understand that some communications are privileged, but suffice to say that the President is concerned and he intends to do something about our challenges,” he said.
The speaker also expressed reservations over the sack of the service chiefs saying it may not necessarily solve the insecurity.
“Opinions are divided; the generality of the opinion is that the service chiefs should go, that was evident in our debates in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, bus sometimes you don’t want a knee-jack reaction.
“Many of us identify that something drastic has to be done, there’s also the school of thought that says since we are talking about banditry, kidnapping and murders, what have the armed forces got to do with that, anywhere in the world? So the question then arises that if he changes the service chiefs, does that address the issues of kidnapping and banditry?
“The army, navy and air force are outfits set up to tackle external aggression. It is the police that is set upfor internal security, such as we are all witnessing. That’s talking about service chiefs, has the Inspector-General of Police met up with his responsibilities?
“The question is if we now narrow it that to the Inspector General to Police, many will argue that he has done a very good job and many will argue with you that he’s armstrung, straight-jacketed, there’s very little he can do in the face of no equipment, no funding and we explained to Mr President that we have to increase funding, we have to recruit more.
“We are talking, even just right now we have gone on to set up a committee that will periodically review the issue of security, maybe once a month or once in six weeks, which will involve the two arms of government and the party.
“Major progress was made in this discussion, which is a meeting that lasted over an hour and I believe Nigerians will begin to see traction, they’ll begin to see changes. You can be sure that concrete steps were taken in that direction,” he said.