Nigerian security chiefs have been accused of sending predetermined questions to lawmakers ahead of a House hearing.
Sources told The Realm News that at least 48 members of the House of Representatives who are scheduled to hold sectoral debates with the service chiefs (as the security chiefs are also called) on Tuesday morning were sent a list restricting their expected lines of questioning. The lawmakers, in the list seen by The Realm News, were identified by name and allotted questions they are expected to ask the service chiefs.
From the questions seen by The Realm News, the list likely emerged from the offices of the military chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.
|President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Service Chiefs|
|1||Mallam Nuhu Ribadu||National Security Adviser (NSA)|
|2||Maj. Gen. C.G Musa||Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)|
|3||Maj. Gen. T. A Lagbaja||Chief of Army Staff (COAS)|
|4||Rear Admiral E. A Ogalla||Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)|
|5||AVM H.B Abubakar||Chief of Air Staff (CAS)|
|6||DIG Kayode Egbetokun||Ag Inspector-General of Police|
|7||Maj. Gen. EPA Undiandeye||Chief of Defense Intelligence|
The service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police sent the seven-page security sector brief with the House of Representatives members, containing the debate questions to be asked during the interactive session.
In the document titled, “Guiding questions for Hon Members on security sector brief”, the leader of the relevant house committee, Julius Ihonvbere, is expected to open the floor of the session and ask the following question:
“Assess how your agency is doing in terms of effective implementation of your mandate? Identify specific areas of challenges and speak to how the National Assembly can assist”.
Thereafter, Bello Kumo, the chief whip would ask the second question: “How efficiently are the armed forces and police in achieving their mandate (in terms of time and cost) on the scale of 1-5, 1 being bad and 5 being very good? Give reasons for your answer.”
The development is seen by some reps as ‘cheating on steroids’ and as an insult to the legislative arm of government, and is causing discontent in the legislative unit as we speak.
In an ideal situation, we are told, the members of the committee, who were elected by Nigerians, would be free to query the security chiefs regarding the spate of insecurity plaguing the country. Even if there were predetermined questions, such would emanate from the committee’s leadership and not from the security chiefs it was supposed to hold accountable.
“This is a case of a student sending UTME questions to JAMB ahead of a major examination,” a source told us, indicating that several lawmakers are unhappy with the move.
“It is unacceptable and a clear indication of the security chiefs’ lack of transparency and accountability. They don’t want to be held accountable for the job they swore on oath to do”.
Here are the questions:
It was immediately clear if the security chiefs had supporters within the rank of the legislative committee.
Another source familiar with the development familiar with the development said:
“What is the purpose of the prepared questions? Is it a sign of incompetence that the security chiefs are informed of the answers before the questions are asked? Given the current situation, I propose that these questions be completely disregarded in this meeting. Instead, an executive session should be arranged for more comprehensive discussions. The security chiefs are obligated to answer all questions posed by the parliament, and today’s meeting seems to be a farce.”
The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday morning, would be nothing short of a pre-rigged exercise if the committee plays along with the military brass.
Nigerians would expect the lawmakers to stand up for their rights and refuse to be cowed by the leadership of the security agencies, holding them accountable for the level of safety in the country.