The house of representatives has raised the alarm over the reported criminal activities perpetrated by insurgents in some communities in Oyo state.
At plenary on Tuesday, the lawmakers said some violent groups — “sometimes consisting of insurgents and foreigners from neighbouring countries” — have been camping in over 200 villages in the state for about three weeks.
They said while some of the insurgents rob and kidnap people for ransom, some of their counterparts “storm villages to maim, loot and even kill in search of food, money and shelter”.
The deliberations were sequel to a motion of urgent public importance raised by Bosun Oladele, from Oyo state.
Oladele said villagers and farmers living in the affected villages have fled the area and taken cover in neighbouring communities.
He said eight persons have died from the attacks while “more than 15 persons have been kidnapped for ransom, some resulting in fatalities and gunshot injuries”.
He also said there is need for “drastic” measures to be taken to avoid a situation where “economic and social activities within the constituency will be paralysed”.
Contributing to the motion, the lawmakers lamented similar security challenges in other parts of the country, while calling for the expansion of security personnel in the country.
However, Henry Nwawuba from Imo state said the problem may not be employing more security personnel, rather, “are those in the armed forces the right persons for the job?”
He said: “We are talking about the armed forces being overstretched; those in the armed forces, are they there because they have the passion for the job or because of the money? When you employ somebody in the force that is there only to make money, then you see killings and collusion.”
He said the solution is the restructuring of the nation’s security architecture, adding: “Let us consider going back to our constitutional review to look at the issue of state police, to address these killings once and for all.”
Sulaiman Romo from Kano state accused some of the lawmakers of “trivialising” the matter.
“My worry is that we may be trivialising a very important matter of this nature and if we are going to judge our country and government on the bases of sectoral crises, then all the governments since independence have failed,” he said.
“Whenever we have an issue to discuss, let us address the substance instead of castigating the government and individuals.
“We should look at the possibility of increasing the capacity and number of the officers of the Nigerian police. There are so many issues across the country and this is not limited to 2019.”
Thereafter, the house urged the chief of army staff and the inspector-general of police to “urgently” deploy personnel in the area.
They also mandated the relevant government agencies to provide relief materials to the victims of the crisis.