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    Reps meet service chiefs, CDS seeks support against terrorists

    THE leadership of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday met with security chiefs over the growing insecurity in Nigeria, especially on the recent attacks on the Kaduna International Airport and a Kaduna-Abuja train.

    Also at the meeting were top Federal Government officials in the transportation and aviation sectors.

    The meeting, which was held behind closed doors at the House of Representatives, lasted over four hours.

    Details of discussions at the meeting, which ended at 7pm, were not available as of press time, as none of the attendees agreed to speak.

    Present at the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor; Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Awwal Gambo; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusus Bichi; Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba; Minister of Transportation, Rotomi Amaechi, among others.

    The Chief of Army Staff was represented at the meeting.

    Emerging from the meeting, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated that security matters, which were discussed behind closed doors, should not be made public.

    Gbajabiamila said, “Gentlemen, we had an extensive deliberation. There are a lot of issues we discussed here. Unfortunately, as defence matters, they are not things for public consumption. But I can assure you that there was a lot of collaboration; a lot of ideas came together in terms of how the security agencies can work together and speak together with one voice as against several voices.

    “We talked about the all-important issue of whether or not there are elements within the military themselves that we need to deal with; issues of moles like some have stated. We talked about training and retraining; the issue of capacity and allowances.

    “We talked about several things; a lot of them touched on security and I am not at liberty at this point. But for us to have been in there for about four hours, you must know that we made some good headway and extensive decisions were reached. I was not happy going in but I am happy coming out”.

    Earlier at the brief opening session before the meeting went behind closed doors, his brief remarks, the Speaker said the meeting was called to analyse the security crises and steps being taken by the security chiefs as well as what the House can do to help in achieving the mandate of the security chiefs.

    Gbajabiamila said, “There is no one in this room that does not mean well for this country. We must first get that. We are trying to figure out what can be done, where we have fallen short of what we are supposed to do.

    “It is important to put our heads together to rescue our country from where we are today. We must also acknowledge what our men in uniform have been able to do. But what are you doing and not doing well or what you are supposed to do that you are not doing.”

    The Speaker recalled that the House had earlier in 2021 held a special national summit on security.

    He said, “Some of you were there and have copies of the recommendations. How far have you gone in the implementation of those recommendations? Why are some of the recommendations not being implemented? Members are pregnant with questions and I think you will use this opportunity to clear the air on that because you cannot continue to do one thing the same way and expect a different result

    “We read about a contract for surveillance on the Kaduna-Abuja train line and the number of passengers on the train. We don’t want twisted records. We want to get the best out of this.”

    Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on Tuesday, said that Nigeria would need more efforts than military offensive to win the war against insecurity including insurgency and banditry in the country.

    While appealing to journalists to prioritise Nigeria’s national interest in their reporting of conflicts, he described the relationship between media and military as “marriage of necessity.”

    The CDS, represented by the Chief of Defence Civil Military Cooperation, Rear Admiral Adeseye Ayobanjo, said during the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop and conference with the theme: “Enhancing journalists-military cooperation in checking insecurity”, organised by Zakclair Investment Limited in collaboration with Defence Headquarters.

    During the event, PUNCH Newspapers got an award “For exceptional, balanced and objective coverage of conflicts.”

    Other recipients of the award were Channels TV, Nigerian Television Authority, Chiemelie Ezeobi of THISDAY and Blessing Tunoh of NTA.

    The workshop was designed to enhance military-journalists cooperation in tackling insecurity in view of the myriads of contemporary security challenges bedeviling Nigeria.

    Copyright PUNCH.

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