The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security in northeast Nigeria.
It also called for investigation into the reported low morale of frontline troops in the Northeast, the establishment of special/super camps by the army and the withdrawal of soldiers from checkpoints to the camps.
The lawmakers lamented the killing of 30 travellers in Auno, near Maiduguri on Sunday by insurgents. They insisted that a drastic action to curtail the trend had become more than imperative.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Chief Whip of the House Mohammed Monguno.
Monguno told his colleagues that after closing a checkpoint on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway in Auno, soldiers left the travellers at the mercy of Boko Haram.
He explained that some women and infants were abducted by the insurgents in the community which is about 28 minutes’ drive from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Co-sponsor of the motion, Ahmed Jaha, said among the many vehicles that were burnt at the checkpoint was a military tanker conveying petroleum product to Maiduguri.
He wondered why the military also disallowed its own truck from crossing the checkpoint.
Jaha claimed that the checkpoint was closed by the soldiers 15 minutes before the scheduled 5pm time, leaving the travellers stranded.
While insisting that the attack on the travellers was avoidable, the lawmaker blamed failure of intelligence gathering for the attack, adding that there was information making the rounds about the movement of the insurgents from one village to another.
He said it was sad for leaders to stay in their comfort zones while their people were being gruesomely killed.
“This issue is of national importance. It is the Northeast today. Nobody knows where it will affect next,” he warned.
Jaha also wondered why the military should introduce super camps where they retire to and close checkpoints, thereby preventing movements by motorists.
Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu said it was inhuman for the military to close the road and abandon their duty post without security for travellers.
He re-emphasised the earlier resolution of the House calling on the service chiefs to resign or be fired.
Elumelu also drew the attention of the House to a trending video on the social media of soldiers complaining of low morale, adding that lawmakers had been talking about the same issue of insecurity on a daily basis without any action.
Elumelu said it was time for action on security in the country.
“Our brothers and sisters are being killed daily in the Northeast. My worry is that one day, we will be chased out of this chamber.
“It is high time the right thing was done. Nigerians voted for President Buhari because he promised to protect them. I still stand by the House resolution that the service chiefs should go because they have outlived their usefulness.”
After the contributions, the House resolved among other things, to direct the military authorities to henceforth stop keeping commuters overnight at a particular period on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road and to allow them proceed on their journey even after 6pm
They also asked the House Committees on Army; National Security and Intelligence to investigate the remote causes of the attack.
The Committee on Army was mandated to investigate the setting up of the super camps and withdrawal of military from checkpoints.