Nigerian Senate suspends plenary over rising Boko Haram attacks

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*44 soldiers, army commandant confirmed killed in Borno

Senate suspends plenary to honour slain soldiers

*Orders probe into the welfare of serving soldiers

*Expresses worry over the recurring death of officers in hands of insurgents

By Olugbenga Salami

Senate, yesterday, abruptly adjourned its plenary in honour of the 44 soldiers and Army Commandant killed last Sunday by the Boko Haram insurgents in Metele village, Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State.

This is even as it ordered its Committees on Army and Defence to investigate the killings, welfare and wellbeing of the Nigerian troops fighting insurgency in the North East.

The upper legislative chamber also resolved to send a delegation to visit officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces on the battle field, particularly in North East against Boko Haram insurgency.

The resolutions followed a motion by the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South) at the instance of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and seconded by the Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP Taraba South).

Senator Na’Allah, while moving the motion decried the plight of military personnel fighting insurgency in the North East and lamented that the murdered commandant was his cousin.

Consequently, he said the Senate should observe a minute silence in honour of the slain soldiers and their commandant, pay condolence visit to the Chief of Army Staff and families of the murdered soldiers and thorough investigation on circumstances surrounding the killings and welfare of serving soldiers be carried out by the Senate Committee on Army.

But Senator Andrew Uchendu (APC Rivers East) added that the Senate should “shut down’’ for one whole day, rather than observing a mere one-minute silence to which the Senate concurred.

“Mr. President and dear colleagues, I have no reason to doubt the figure (of the 44 dead soldiers), but if that figure is correct, then this Senate must come out and show massive concern, not just one-minute silence.

“We must shut down for one whole day in honour of those fallen heroes”, he said.

Contributing, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, bemoaned the hazardous tasks of men and officers of the Armed Forces in fighting Boko Haram insurgency.

Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South) described last Sunday when the soldiers were killed by Boko Haram as a “sad day” and called for immediate oversight by the National Assembly.

She also called for a strong resolution urging the federal government and military authorities to adequately equip the personnel and take care of their welfare, among others.

Media reports had it that aside the soldiers and their Commandant, nine farmers were also killed in the attack by the Boko Haram terrorists.

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