Secure Abuja-Kaduna highway now, reps order Army chief, IGP
The House of Representatives has urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to address the rising spate of attacks by bandits and kidnappers on travellers along the Abuja-Kaduna highway and other roads in the country.
The House also directed all its committees on security to interface with the security agencies every month and brief the leadership and the entire chamber on a monthly and quarterly basis on what the agencies were doing to address the security crises.
A member of the House, Mohammed Nalaraba, had moved a motion of urgent public importance at the plenary on Wednesday to lament attacks on the road linking Kaduna with the nation’s capital city.
Nalaraba said there were security reports that bandits were regrouping at Rijana village along the Abuja-Kaduna highway. He decried that despite the available intelligence, nothing had been done by security forces to flush them out, adding that criminals were now operating from their new hideouts unhindered.
The lawmaker, who asked why security agents had yet to go after the criminals, said, “Rijana is not like the Zamfara forest; it is a small community and these bandits have regrouped there; and if care is not taken, they will soon move to Suleja and then to Abuja.”
Nalaraba expressed concern over the growing security crises across the country, which he said had claimed many lives with no end in sight.
According to him, bandits have continued to attack travellers on the Abuja-Kaduna highway, killing and abducting Nigerians.
He said attacks were recorded on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday without the security agents stopping them.
The lawmaker decried that Nigerian roads, especially the Kaduna-Abuja road that he noted was one of the busiest in the country, were no longer safe, especially on weekends, adding that the situation was so bad that even senior military and security officers with escorts could no longer travel on the road.
Nalaraba stated that the House, as representatives of the people, should direct security agencies to take immediate action to flush out bandits from their hideouts and make the roads safe for Nigerians to travel.
In his contribution, Nicholas Ossai also decried that attacks on the roads were now a daily occurrence despite huge allocations to security.
Ossai said, “You will recall that in 2019, the Federal Government took $1bn and invested it in security without recourse to the National Assembly. But we supported the move in the interest of all. In 2020, a lot of money was again budgeted for security, but a lot of lives have been lost, which have gone unannounced. But because a politician is killed now, it has become a national issue.
“We are in the process of working on the 2022 budget and I am aware that a large chunk of money in the budget is going to security, even when Nigerians are dying.
“The Abuja-Kaduna highway is one of the busiest roads in the country. It is the road used by our farmers in the North to transport their produce to the market in the South. If we can’t go to Kaduna or other parts of the North, then, why are we in the National Assembly?
“We have committees on security in the House. We should mandate them to brief the leadership of the House on a monthly basis on what is happening with security in the country, and brief the entire House on a quarterly basis.” Punch