MEMBERS of Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives have asked for increased security around the National Assembly complex amid fears that terrorist sect Boko Haram may soon mount an attack against the facility.
Since 2009, Boko Haram have been waging a war against the Nigeria state, seeking to create a purist Islamic caliphate. Although the Nigerian Army has regained a lot of territory back from the sect, it still has the capacity to mount sporadic raids and remains in control of large swathes of territory in Borno State.
Last week, Boko Haram murdered 30 people in cold blood just outside Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and its leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau issued a chilling warning to the government. In a Youtube video broadcast, Sheikh Shekau warned President Buhari not to ever visit Borno State again and said his sect would intensify its fight against Nigeria.
As the volume of the rhetoric increases, members of the House of Representatives called for an urgent overhaul of the security architecture at the National Assembly. They called on the management of the National Assembly to install CCTV cameras and modern scanning systems at the gates and strategic points of the National Assembly complex.
In addition, the lawmakers also mandated the National Assembly management to introduce screening, registration and issuance of identity cards to vendors who conduct businesses within the National Assembly complex. These measures were adopted unanimously yesterday when the house adopted a motion by Hon Shehu Barwa Beji titled Calling for the Need to Urgently Overhaul and Intensify the National Assembly Security System.
Presenting the motion, Hon Beji said the House was aware of a recent report in Daily Trust newspaper of February, 13, which indicated that Boko Haram terrorists may attack the National Assembly. He recalled that a few months ago, the National Assembly complex was attacked by a religious group, noting that the security apparatus of the National Assembly is below the threshold required.
Hon Beji said: “According to the intelligence report, strange persons have been around the National Assembly complex and when confronted at the gate of the complex, they were quick to claim being constituents of lawmakers either at the Senate or House of Representatives. We are concerned that in the face of the facelessness of terrorists, the security apparatus of the National Assembly and its environs requires a total overhaul.
“The cooperation of honourable colleagues and distinguished senators is imperative in this circumstance given the fact on influx of strangers to the complex.” While commending the Intelligence Unit of the National Assembly for gathering the information Hon Beji said more strategies need to be evolved to prevent any attack.