Abiodun OBA

The House of Representatives’ investigation of terrorist attacks on the Kaduna International Airport and an Abuja-Kaduna rail line and train suffered a setback over the failure of the ministers and leaders of the security and intelligence community to show up at a meeting called for Wednesday.

The House had at the plenary on Tuesday resolved to invite the relevant ministers and those in charge of the nation’s security to an emergency meeting over the attacks.

Those to appear before the House were the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.); Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (retd.); Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Leo Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.

Other are Amaechi; the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu; Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Rabiu Yadudu; Managing Director

Nigerian Airspace Management Authority, Matthew Pwajok; and General Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria.

However, all the ministers, security chiefs and other officials sent representatives except the NAMA boss, who appeared in person, a development that miffed the lawmakers led by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase.

In his opening remarks, Wase noted that the meeting was called sequel to the motion adopted in plenary on Tuesday, adding, “This became a matter of urgent importance for us to tackle, because Nigerians no longer have respite in terms of means of movement, ease of communication and many losses of lives.”

While also noting that the lawmakers did not have any doubts about the capacity of the representatives, Wase stated, “But as a House, I am constrained as a Deputy Speaker to continue the meeting because the accounting officers that were supposed to be here, while you give them the necessary support, are not here.

“So, we cannot proceed. And I am saying with a heavy heart that no matter the assignment that our generals are handling, I believe the parliament deserves a listening ear. This is the House of the people. I am saddened; I am not happy. I am expressing my disappointment.”

Responding, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Abel Enitan, said, “My minister

is out of town on official assignment as approved by Mr President before this incident.”

Wase, however, interjected, dismissing the excuse for Amaechi’s absence.

“Please, do not use the name of the President. If he is out of the country, he is out of the country. This institution is not under the Presidency. It is an institution of its own,” he said.

Also, the Chief of Operations, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Oti Akinjobi, said the service chiefs were in a meeting based on the directive of the President.

“The express nature of the assignment demanded that they hold a meeting immediately and they have been in session since last night up to this time,” Akinjobi added.

Not satisfied, the Deputy Speaker said while the lawmakers appreciated the directive given by Buharit to sort out the matter, he noted, “We also believe that their being here, even for 10 or 20 minutes, would not have reduced anything in terms of what should have been done.”

Wase also dismissed the excuse given by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Sanusi Lemu, for representing the IG.

The lawmakers consequently dismissed the representatives, asking those directly invited to appear in person today (Thursday).

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