Senator Dogara: ” I’m worried soldiers are taking over police work,”

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has faulted the increasing engagement of military personnel in the duties constitutionally reserved for the Nigeria Police. The
Speaker on Monday, July 4, said the deployment of soldiers to over 28
states in the country is an indication that Nigeria is already in a
state of emergency.

Dogara noted that in
peacetime, soldiers are only meant to complement the police and other
civil authorities, and not the other way round.
He stated this in Abuja at a “Capacity/Interactive Needs Assessment Workshop of Security Sector Related Committees in the House of Representatives.”
The programme was organised in collaboration with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
Dogara
cited Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which,
according to him, defined the duties of the Armed Forces, contrary to
what they are doing these days in many states of the federation.
“It
is worrisome that Nigeria is effectively permanently in a state of
emergency as the Armed Forces are deployed in more than 28 states of the
federation in peacetime,”
the Speaker lamented.
“The
Armed Forces have virtually taken over routine police work in Nigeria.
They are no longer acting in aid of civil authorities but have become
the civil authorities.
“Section
217 of the constitution spells out the duties and responsibilities of
the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which include defending Nigeria from
external aggression; maintaining Nigeria’s territorial integrity; and
securing our borders from violation from land, sea or air; suppressing
insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order
when called upon to do so by the President,”
he said.
Speaking on the funds appropriated for security operations annually by the National Assembly, Dogara said the legislature must ensure that the money is transparently and judiciously spent.
He said, “Related
to the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to appropriate
funds and thereby allocate funds for security, is the power to ensure
that such monies or funds appropriated are used in a transparent and
accountable manner and for the purpose for which they have been given.
“The National Assembly’s powers of legislative oversight cannot therefore be over-emphasised.”

On
the rising security concerns in the country, the Speaker assured that
the House is ready and committed to providing legislative support to the
executive to confront the issues.
“This
past experience which saw a powerful military exercise absolute control
and authority over the machinery of government has translated to the
current challenge of getting these institutions to subject themselves to
legislative scrutiny,”
the Speaker stressed.
“The
often seen consequence of this is inadequate and inefficient delivery
of security to citizens, as well as lack of accountability and
transparency as they relate to security expenditure.
“The
House has consequently, recently amended the Public Procurement Act to
make the Armed Forces more accountable in procurement matters,”
he added.

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