The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said that weak and underfunded security agencies cannot live up to the task of protecting the country in the face of many security challenges.
He stated this at a retreat on security-related committees of the National Assembly and Security Agencies which held Saturday in Lagos.
He said the legislative agenda of the House prioritises national security, and that oversight tours to security agencies have shown that funding of the sector is inadequate.
He also raised concerns about the low ratio of military to civilian personnel, with Nigeria currently ranking at 152 out of 190 countries and therefore called for improved welfare for security agencies.
“The bodies directly responsible for the implementation of the programmes and activities relevant to our protection are the security agencies.
“The health of the security agencies is therefore very important, for no one can give what he does not have.
“Weak, underfunded, poorly manned, and ill-trained security men cannot defend any nation or people,” he said.
He added that house committees have been embarking on oversight tours of the security agencies and some of the reports received show that the investment made in the military, paramilitary and other security agencies are inadequate.
He also said a check on the ratio of security personnel to the civilian population shows that Nigeria is well behind the recommendations of the United Nations.
“As a matter of fact, Nigeria sits uncomfortably on number 152 of the 190 states included in the index table,” he said.
The Speaker drew attention to challenges such as terrorism and the presence of military personnel in most states of the federation, which he said further compounded the problem of an existing deficit in critical security infrastructure.
He highlighted steps being taken by the House to propose legislative solutions to the many challenges faced by security agencies. He also urged security personnel to adhere strictly to international best practices in their engagements.
“In the last two appropriation seasons, we worked and improved on the allocations proposed for the military agencies. Even then, we knew that what was available could not do much. In the face of other competing demands, there was not much that could be done,” Mr. Dogara added.
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