Gbajabiamila Express Disappointment Over Failure Of Service Chiefs To Appear In House Of Reps

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Friday vowed to report Security Chiefs personally to President Muhammadu Buhari for snubbing a security meeting convened by the House of Representatives.

The House had summoned the meeting with the Security Chiefs for briefing on the anti-terrorism war.

But the Security Chiefs, including Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok Ete- Ekwe and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar snubbed the summon.

Instead, they sent representatives, a development the Speaker considered a slight on the House leadership.

The Chief of Defense Staff was represented by Chief of Defense Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General Leo Irabor while Chief of Account and Budget Army, Major General Kola Bakare accompanied him.

Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun (Chief of Policy and Plans, Army), represented the Chief of Army Staff while the Chief of Naval Staff was represented by Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick (Chief of Training and Operations) and the Chief of Air Staff was represented by Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao (Chief of Training and Operations).

However, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Director General of Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi and the Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration service, Mohammed Babandede were present

The House had on Thursday stepped down a motion by Ifeanyi Momah titled: “Review of the Military strategy of ‘Super Camps’ in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East Zone.”

A visibly upset Gbajabiamila expressed his disappointment with their absence.

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He said: “Let me commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the commitment he has shown to stem the tide and to put a handle and lead on the security situation in Nigeria today.

“Unfortunately, Mr President cannot work alone. He has to have people to delegate those powers to as the Commander in Chief as directed by our constitution.

“But because Mr President has delegated those powers to the Service Chiefs, we decided to call this meeting as representatives of the people.

“This meeting was not called by a Committee of the House. It was called by the highest level of the legislature, personally by me as the speaker of the house.

“Let me commend the IGP, DG DSS and Nigerian Immigration for coming here.

“Let me say that as a House and institution, I cannot understate my disappointment or our disappointment for the service chiefs that are not here.

“We called this meeting because it was important, you can see member from Borno here. There is crisis in Borno State right now.

“We wanted to hear from the Service Chiefs to know what is going on, to know how the House can help.

“What are the problems, what are the challenges, to talk about strategy and what we need to do?

“I am sure you do not expect the House to fold its arms over what is going on in Maidugiri and other parts.

“There is a migration now from Local Government to Maidugiri but here we are we called the Armed Forces coordinated by Chief of Defence Staff who is not here, Service Chiefs being represented by their accountants.

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“I am actually at a loss. For me, I believe are in tandem with this, the absence of the Service Chiefs, the Navy is not represented as far as I am concerned, Air Force is not represented, ditto the Chief off Army Staff.

“I know one or two of these Service Chiefs were somewhere yesterday night. I can almost say that it showed the disdain for this institution.”

He added: “The budget is on its way, we need to talk about it, what do you need? What is required? I am almost embarrassed to tell the truth.

“There was no call placed to my office to explain why. I am just seeing accountants and Representatives.

“I am not sure how to handle this. I do not think this happens anywhere. Any parliament in the world where the Head of Parliament will call the Service Chiefs for a nagging problem on how to resolve it and will not show.

“I think it is important to postpone this meeting to Monday morning. I will personally see the President myself because we are supposed to work as one, to work together as a body.”

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