Reps ask Buhari to Declare State of Emergency, to Audit Military Assets; Buhari urge US to relocate AFRICOM HQ To Africa

Members of the House of Representatives have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on security.

The call formed part of the resolutions reached at the closed-door session to discuss pressing national issues, which lasted about four hours on Tuesday at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Reading the other resolutions reached at the end of the meeting, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila noted that the House Security Committees were mandated to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms and revert back within four weeks.

They reiterated their commitment to the security and corporate existence of Nigeria and vowed to accelerate engagements with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House.

The House also resolved to urgently invite the National Security Adviser, service chiefs, and heads of various paramilitary agencies, as well as the Managing Director of Nigerian COMSAT to brief the lawmakers on the security situation in the country.

As part of measures to curb the spate of violence, the judiciary was asked to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial for banditry, terrorism, and other criminal activities.

According to them, the number of personnel in the police and military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country maintaining that immediate recruitment it required.

Similarly, during the virtual meeting on Tuesday with the US Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony Blinken, President Buhari urged Un to reconsider relocating US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, so it can support Nigeria in tackling the insecurity challenges facing the country.

President Buhari said AFRICOM, which partners with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check the security situation, with likely effect on other nations.

“The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central, and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes. The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider re-locating AFRICOM Headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation,’’ he said.

President Buhari said Nigeria will enhance collaborations in all forms, with friends and strategic partners, to work together for greater security for all, which remain the most significant condition for overcoming the existential challenges.

“Nigeria attaches great importance to its relations with the United States. Let me in this connection express appreciation to President Joe Biden for his welcome and reaching decision to repeal the Immigration restriction known as the ‘Muslim ban’ on travel and visas for citizens predominantly from Muslim Nations and African Countries, including Nigeria.

“I also wish to congratulate the United States for re-joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The leadership of the United States in these two organizations is crucial for the international community.

“This action is a demonstration of the United States commitment in championing and supporting international organizations with the aim to build a better world for all,’’ he added..

“I would like to extend our goodwill message to President Joe Biden and his Administration. May I also thank you for initiating this meeting, which I am confident, given your background and current position, you will use to promote the existing bilateral relations between our two countries,’’ the President said.

The Secretary of State in his response said he was pleased to make Nigeria part of his “first virtual visit to Africa,” noting that Nigeria and the United States of America, share a lot in bilateral issues.

He added that he would be delighted to build on the foundation that was laid between the two countries over 60 years ago, disclosing that areas of discussion with Nigeria would include “how to build our economies back after the COVID-19 pandemic, security for vulnerable communities, and climate issues.”

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