The Service Chiefs also took turns to outline their efforts to tackle the country’s security situation.
Nigeria Service Chiefs have identified inadequate funding, lack of equipment, and poor welfare as challenges to addressing the security situation in the country.
This is as the Chief of Army Staff identified the efforts of security operatives in tackling the prevalence of violent extremism, banditry, militancy, and terrorism in the country.
The Service Chiefs spoke at the commencement of the sectoral debate initiated by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Recall that the House, last week, invited the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Hassan Abubakar, and the IGP, Olukayode Egbetokun for a discussion on the country’s security situation.
In his brief, the Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja, said the Nigerian Army has been able to effectively control the spread of violent extremism in the northeast region, and stopped attempts by Boko Haram to create a caliphate in the northeast.
Lagnaja added that the military has regained territories taken under control by the terrorist group, adding that it. is currently focused on conducting intelligence-based operations to further combat terrorism.
“The troops have done impressively in dealing the terrorism and curbing attempts to create a caliphate in the northeast. We conduct intelligence-based operations to ensure that there’s no destruction in the groups currently deployed to combat terrorism. If I’m to judge the troops, I will say they have performed incredibly looking back at where we are coming from,” he stated.
Speaking further, the Army Chief said that the military is tackling insecurity in all the geo-political zones, adding that there is a heavy military presence in three of the six geo-political zones – the northeast, northwest, and north-central.
“To ensure that the effort of the deployed troops is effective, the army tweaks its strategies to fit with the reality of the regions. Our strategy as the army to combat the multi-faceted challenges affecting the nation is the deployment of operatives to different zones.”
Chief of Airforce, Naval Staff decry poor funding
The Chief of Naval Staff, Emmanuel Ogalla, observed that the dedication of naval operatives to their responsibilities cannot fill the gap caused by a lack of adequate funding.
According to him, the Navy needs more funds to acquire more surveillance systems to monitor backwaters, creeks, and rivers behind the coastline.
“We have recorded landmark achievements Nigeria was recorded a piracy nation but we have recently been declared a piracy-free nation due to the continued efforts of the navy.
“We are requesting the House to intervene to cover the creeks. If we do these other activities like oil theft, vandalisation, and others we will be able to monitor them from our surveillance system. We are requesting for the passage of a bill, the Maritime Security Trust Fund, to be dedicated to these activities. If this is done, oil theft, pipeline vandalisation, and illegal refining will be monitored 24 hours consistently,” he implored.
In the same vein, the Chief of Air staff, Hassan Abubakar, lamented the delay in the preparation, and approval of the annual budget.
Abubakar said the lethargy affects the procurement of foreign machinery required for optimal performance in the Air Force.
“The consistent delay in budgeting and approval, bearing in mind that the Nigerian Navy is heavily reliant on the procurement of foreign facilities for its operation is a major issue.”
Another challenge, he noted, is the rising cost of aviation fuel, and its impact on the operation of force.
Shortly after their submissions, the House went into an executive session to allow the Service Chiefs to respond to sensitive questions posed by lawmakers.
Inspector General of Police
On his part, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, said the neglect of the force, the abysmal funding combined with the poor standard of living have made operatives of the force ill-motivated to protect the lives of citizens.
Egbetokun listed poor logistics provision, insufficient patrol vehicles for police divisions, inadequate training, and poor welfare of personnel as some challenges within the force.
He also noted Nigerians have a high expectation of the police, and expect operatives “to perform magic” despite existing challenges.
“The police force has been battered, the police is neglected. The manpower in the police force is grossly inadequate and even the criminal knows this.
“The wages of police are grossly inadequate. We need money to do all of that is expected of us. We need training, equipment, etc.
“Despite all these challenges we have been doing wonderfully well. We have carried so many arrests but no amount of arrests can stop the criminal. We appeal for cooperation, and collaboration from the Nigerian people because we can do it alone,” he submitted.