The House of Representatives’ Committee on National Security and Intelligence has said the insecurity in Nigeria is now taking an international dimension.
Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Sharada, said this in Abuja on Wednesday when security and intelligence bodies led by the Office of the National Security Adviser appeared before the lawmakers for 2022 budget defence.
At the meeting were representatives of the Office of the NSA, National Intelligence Agency, Department of State Services and the National Institute for Security Studies, among others.
According to Sharada, the committee made “inspiring discoveries” in its recent oversight conducted over the agencies under it. “This outcome has revealed your enormous role in supporting relevant National Security and enforcement agencies with classified information that provides the foundation for their operations,” he said.
He said, “This role has become commendably discharged despite the challenges faced by many security organisations in collaborating with sister agencies to ﬁght crimes against national security. In recognition of this reality, these may be needed to propose the exclusion of the national intelligence agencies from the envelope budgetary system in future national budgets. This development will strengthen your operational capacity especially in the present situation that necessitates high-level confidentiality in sharing information to relevant security agencies across the country.
“While the committee appreciates the output from all agencies under the umbrella of the national intelligence community, coordinated by the National Security Adviser, it has also observed the need to intensify more efforts especially In intelligence gathering and inter-agency collaboration to eliminate disturbing national crimes especially banditry, insurgency and kidnapping whose operations are propelled by information procured, procured and mismanaged by undesirable members of the society.
“The rate of insecurity in our national life has taken an international dimension with reported banditry, killings and border crimes. This ugly trend requires the National Intelligence Agency to intensify efforts in response to these challenges prevalent across the West African Sub-Region.”
Sharada, therefore, said the NIA should also collaborate with the Network of African Parliamentarians of Defence and Security Committees to utilise speciﬁc output from its deliberations in furtherance of national, regional and continental security.
The lawmaker recalled that in both 2019 and 2020 budget defences, the committee did not examine the details out of the presentations in recognition of the sensitive nature of operational expenditure of the agencies as major stakeholders in the national security system.
“This reality explains why the committee delayed oversight of the agencies until recently. To give credence to this, the committee was at NIA just the day before yesterday,” he noted.
Sharada added, “I, therefore, want to crave the indulgence of this committee to rely on this cherished established precedent to release our esteemed guests after they make their presentations, while we proceed to make further legislative action in line with the provisions and rules of the House.”