Senate yesterday agreed on the establishment of a Presidential Intervention Committee on the rehabilitation of the North-East zone, following the infrastructural damages and deaths caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
In a motion sponsored by Senator George Thompson Sekibo, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP representing Rivers East Senatorial District and 35 other senators, including those from the All Progressives Congress, APC, they particularly sympathised with the people of the three most affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible within his powers as provided by the Constitution to eradicate Boko Haram insurgents in the country.
While condemning the continued assault on the people of the North-East zone and other parts of the country by the Boko Haram elements, the Senate also directed its Committee on Special Duties to monitor the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs across the country.
The Upper House also resolved that Saraki should lead a delegation of senators to visit the IDPs in Maiduguri while at the same time commend the military personnel currently fighting insurgency in the North-East.
Sekibo, while raising the motion, explained that since the inception of the insurgents’ assaults in the region, several educational and health institutions as well as the police, the customs, the immigration and military barracks have been destroyed with no offices and facilities for use by the affected institutions.
“Thousands of personal buildings and property, social amenities and infrastructure, such as electricity and telephone equipment have been destroyed and therefore not service in many parts of the zone.
“The livelihood of many indigenes of the area have been disrupted such that majority of the people are either in Internally Displaced Persons camps or are helplessly roaming the streets without any hope for their future,” he stressed.
Sekibo noted that as a war torn area, the affected people have no one to go and ask for alms or support of any kind.
He said a situation where people are kept without hope for a future would encourage them to give up themselves as recruits of the Boko Haram organisations as there seems the possibility of them having food for sustenance from the sect or engage in other sinister activities that could advertently affect the nation negatively.
He also expressed worry that the government’s inability to rehabilitate and rebuild infrastructure of areas that have been taken back from the insurgents is a strong sign of disintegration.
Others like Senators Nelson Effiong, Shehu Sani and Sola Adeyeye argued that any rehabilitation of the North-East without first winning the insurgency battle would be a waste of time frontline states.
Senator Ben Bruce called for a deliberate strategy to reduce the cost of governance so that there would be adequate funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of social infrastructure destroyed by the insurgents.
Senators Godswill Akpabio and Samuel Anyanwu noted with dismay the rising cases of Boko Haram attacks in recent times and urged the relevant agencies to expedite action to end the menace.
Saraki, who ended the debate, pledged that the Senate would complement the efforts of the Buhari administration to actualise his promise to guarantee security and welfare of Nigerians.
He also expressed optimism that the newly appointed service chiefs, given the opportunity to perform, would soon route out terrorism win the region.
Service Chiefs to be screened Tuesday
Meanwhile, the Senate has postponed the screening of the newly appointed Service Chiefs, earlier slated for Thursday to Tuesday next week.
The change in date was due to the pulling out parade being organised by the military for the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, taking place in Abuja, tomorrow.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki had announced on Wednesday that the Service Chiefs would be screened during plenary tomorrow by 11am.
He urged members to be seated on time in order to effectively do justice to the assignment before them.
But the leadership of the Senate quickly announced the postponement to enable the Service Chiefs, as well as the Senate President, who had been duly invited to the POP, to attend the event.
A letter of invitation addressed to Saraki and signed by Maj.-Gen. M.A. Koleoso, on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, explained that the event, where Badeh would be formally disengaged from service, would hold at the Mogadishu Cantonment by 9am.
Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Sanni Onogu, told journalists on Wednesday that the shift in the date of screening was to enable the new Service Chiefs and Saraki, to attend the event.
Saraki had read President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter, seeking the confirmation of the upper chamber for the appointment of new Service Chiefs, during plenary on Tuesday.
He said the letter to confirm the appointments was in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act, 2004.