The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara has expressed his worry over the deployment of military personnel in over 28 states in the country. He described the development as a sign that Nigeria is already in a state of emergency.
Dogara said, “It is worrisome that Nigeria is effectively permanently in a state of emergency as the Armed Forces are deployed in more than 28 states of the federation in peacetime.
Speaking at a “Capacity/Interactive Needs Assessment Workshop of Security Sector Related Committees in the House of Representatives”, Dogara expressed his concern on the presence of the military in almost parts of the country, practically taking engaging in the job of the police.
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He stated, “The Armed Forces have virtually taken over routine police work in Nigeria. They are no longer acting in aid of civil authorities but have become the civil authorities”.
He reference Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended, defining the responsibilities of the Armed Forces in contrast to the duties they are currently discharging across many states in Nigeria.
According to him, “Section 217 of the constitution spells out the duties and responsibilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which include defending Nigeria from external aggression; maintaining Nigeria’s territorial integrity; and securing our borders from violation from land, sea or air; suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President.”
He expressed his apprehension on how the military has caused setbacks for the country which has put Nigeria in its current state. He said “This past experience which saw a powerful military exercise absolute control and authority over the machinery of government has translated to the current challenge of getting these institutions to subject themselves to legislative scrutiny.
“The often seen consequence of this is inadequate and inefficient delivery of security to citizens, as well as lack of accountability and transparency as they relate to security expenditure.”
Consequently, Dogara assured citizens of the willingness of the House to provide maximal support to the executive to tackle the rising security challenges facing the country.
He said; “Related to the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to appropriate funds and thereby allocate funds for security, is the power to ensure that such monies or funds appropriated are used in a transparent and accountable manner and for the purpose for which they have been given.
“The National Assembly’s powers of legislative oversight cannot therefore be over-emphasised,” he told the session.
“The House has consequently, recently amended the Public Procurement Act to make the Armed Forces more accountable in procurement matters.”
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