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UPDATED: Senate Grills Service Chiefs, Others For Four Hours

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The Senate on Thursday grilled heads of security agencies for over four hours behind closed doors.

This followed its resolution last week to meet with security authorities over growing insecurity.

The Senate went into a closed session at about 11.20 am and rose at 3.20 pm.

Security chiefs present at the session were: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Leo Irabor; Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao; Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman.

Others were: Directors-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Maj-Gen S.A. Adebayo and Directorate of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi among others.

It was learnt the CDS briefed the Senate on behalf of the Service Chiefs while the Inspector General of Police and heads of intelligence agencies elaborated on the internal security challenges across the country.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the meeting will be held behind closed door.

Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru briefed Senate Correspondents after the over four hours closed session with the security chiefs.

Basiru said: “At an executive session they briefed the Senate comprehensively on the state of security in the country, analysis of the various operations and theatre of activities that they are engaged in, the topography across the six geopolitical zones, the complexities and the challenges that are being faced and ways by which they believe the parliament can work together with the executive and the heads of security agencies to ensure we rein in the atmosphere of insecurity and ensure a long-lasting peace and security for our country.”

He added: “We did not talk about money. We did not talk about the figure. We had a high-level discussion on general challenges and requirements for us to have efficient and effective security.

“The details of whatever will go into supplementary appropriation can only be worked upon by the Ministry of Finance, which is an executive arm together with our relevant Committee and such are not matters that we will go into details.

“Of course, everybody knows that security is a serious matter for which you cannot take with levity when it comes to ensuring appropriate appropriation for that. We are ready to receive a supplementary budget.

“We don’t have any doubt that there is synergy among the various security agencies. In fact, from the nature of the briefing that we received, it reassured us as elected representatives of the people that there is indeed a synergy.”

On whether the Senate is satisfied with plans of the security agencies, Basiru said: “I believe that going forward, the confidence has been built between the security chiefs on one hand and the Nigerian parliament on the other hand and that would be a good signal of what we expect in the future.”

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