Senate, NSA, Service Chiefs in closed-door session to address worsening security

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The Senate has commenced a private meeting with the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu and the nation’s service chiefs to discuss the concerning state of security in the country.

Those present include the Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa; the Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja; the Chief of Air Staff, Hassan Abubakar; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Emmanuel Ogalla.

Also in attendance are the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun; the Director General of the State Services, Yusuf Magaji Bichi; and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

Among the ministers present are the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru; the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; the Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Geidam; the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; and the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.

Before the closed-door session, Senate President Godswill Akpabio apologised for commencing behind schedule.

“I want to thank the service chiefs who were earlier here in the Senate before we adjourned. The only addition is that we now felt that the ministers should also come because they are supervising most of the finances of these security agencies,” Akpabio told them.

“We can talk security but we need money also procure equipment and to do a lot of things. Your presence here will give us insights into how funding is being handled to ensure the security of lives and properties.

“The Senate decided to take this option for us to have a session because of the various petitions that we have received from our constituents. As part of our major oversight function, we decided to do this through the Committee of a Whole.”

The Senate then had a private meeting with the highest ranking government officials after addressing them.

Postponement

The upper chamber originally scheduled a meeting with the security officials for Tuesday, but it was postponed due to the absence of the NSA and the head of defense.

The chief of defense staff and the NSA were noticeably absent, even though other service chiefs attended the Senate chamber in response to the invitation. Senator Akpabio was compelled by this to postpone the meeting.

The Senate President stated that Ribadu sent an apology letter to his office over his absence. But he did not like that Mr. Musa, the army general, was not present.