The Senate, on Tuesday, lamented that the spate of kidnappings in the country, particularly along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, was becoming an embarrassment to the country.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary on Tuesday, said this after the Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, briefed the lawmakers on the outcome of a meeting the National Assembly held with security agencies on Monday.
Lawan, while raising the point of order, said both the Senate and the House of Representatives held a meeting with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Monday.
“This meeting was specifically called to discuss the incessant kidnappings that have become the situation (trend) on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway,” the Senate Majority Leader stated.
He added that chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Police Affairs attended the meeting.
Lawan said, “We discussed at length that the current situation, in which there is either mass kidnapping or kidnapping of individuals on a daily basis on this highway, is not acceptable to us as representatives of the people.
“Therefore, we needed an explanation from the police authorities. We wanted to see the way forward; a better and working security architecture and arrangement to ensure that this situation is arrested.
“The IGP explained that currently, there was a joint operation between the police and the Army on the road; that the police had contributed about 600 personnel and donated 90 patrol vehicles to the joint operation.
“But, of course, this has not solved the problem at all. In fact, the problem has escalated.”
Lawan added, “The IGP, of course, promised that from today – Tuesday – there would be another set of operation that is exclusively police-designed to reinforce the joint operation that they had undertaken with the military.
“We are going to monitor, particularly the two Committees on Police Affairs of the two chambers, and see the situation if there would be any improvement.”
He, however, pointed out that Idris also raised some issues, largely on funding.
The Senate Leader stated that there was the need for short-term and long-term funding arrangements for the police for effective policing of Nigeria.
“I also want to urge my colleagues here that the National Assembly should pass the Police Trust Fund Bill. This bill will provide some funds and proceeds from other sources, largely non-governmental, for our police to have funds which will improve their operations and make Nigeria better and safer,” he added.
Ekweremadu noted the funding challenges the police faced in the discharge of their duties.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has deployed more police operatives along Kaduna-Abuja highway following persistent kidnap cases on the road.
The force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, who disclosed the development in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said operatives in ‘Operation Absolute Sanity’ were drawn from the Special Police Force, Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Squad and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.