In honour of 44 soldiers killed by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno last weekend, the Nigerian Senate has suspended legislative duties and adjourned sitting until Tuesday.
According to reports, members of the Nigerian Army and some farmers were killed in three days of attacks on some villages and a military camp by the terrorists.
The decision of the senate came after a motion by the Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Bala Na’Allah at the instance of the President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki.
The Senate also directed the senate commitee on the Nigerian Army to visit to the troops in the battle front against insurgency in the North East.
The committee was also to work with the Ministry of Defence to ensure the investigate the reason for the loss of the troop to insurgence and if adequate measures are being taken by military authorities to protect their personnel.
Damababa, a member of the Army committee, had drawn the attention of members to an alleged inactivity by the committee’s leadership headed by George Akume (APC-Benue).
Damababa accused the senator of not doing enough to ensure that the activities of the Army is adequately monitored by the senate.
“In fact, the only thing the committee has done that can be said to be oversight was our visit to the Army headquarters in 2016.
“In fact, Mr President, the Senate is completely detached from the Nigerian Army. We in the Senate do not know what the Army is actually doing.
“I want to say this again that there was a draft bill that was referred to the committee about two years ago, that bill is still lying down in the secretariat of the committee.
“This is because the leadership of the committee has not been able to give direction as to what to do with the bill,’’ Damababa said.
Ruling on the point of order, Saraki urged the Majority Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe), to discuss with the committee’s leadership and report back afterwards.
Saraki then reminded the lawmakers of the fallen soldiers, who “paid the ultimate price’’ in their service to the nation.
He wondered why nobody deemed it necessary to move a motion in their honour.
They emphasised the need for the Senate to show more concern in the affairs of the military and welfare of its personnel.
To this end, they called for a strong resolution urging the Federal Government and military authorities to adequately equip the personnel and take care of their welfare, among others.
Na’Allah had initially made three prayers in the motion namely observance of one minute silence in honour of the slain soldiers, the condolence visit and investigation by the Army committee.
But Uchendu added that the Senate should “shut down’’ for one whole day, rather than observing a mere one-minute silence which he said was not enough.
He said “Mr President and dear colleagues, I have no reason to doubt the figure (of the 44 dead soldiers), but if that figure is correct, then this Senate must come out and show massive concern, not just one-minute silence.
“We must shut down for one whole day in honour of those fallen heroes,’’ he said.