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Fresh Boko Haram threat attracts tough security measures in National Assembly

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
22 July 2017   |   4:15 am
Following renewed threats by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group, which identified the National Assembly premises as one of its next targets of attack...

• Armoury To Be Rehabilitated For Full Usage
Following renewed threats by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group, which identified the National Assembly premises as one of its next targets of attack, the National Assembly has resolved to evolve stringent security measures within its premises.

Apart from the regular services provided by the over 500 security personnel within the complex, other serious steps are being taken to boost security.

Specifically, management of the National Assembly has approved that the traffic of visitors to the National Assembly be seriously monitored and reduced.

It emerged yesterday that the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori has given his nod to a wide range of urgent measures in response to calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the internal security of the complex for more effective results.

Among the early signs of threats to security which the National Assembly management said it had noticed included reported cases of car theft and looting of government property in the complex, which suggest that so many things may be wrong with the security network in the nation’s apex law making institution.

“With the rate of security uncertainty, no stone must be left unturned in the drive to ensure a crime free environment and festering of criminalities,” it stressed.

The massive influx of visitors, including itinerant traders and artisans into the complex, which it noted has continued unabated despite the heavy presence of security operatives is another threat.

Report from the Sergeant-At-Arms in the National Assembly indicates that over 4000 visitors storm the complex each legislative day even as many of them have no business coming to the National Assembly, but to harass legislators and civil servants.

Consequently, the political leadership of the National Assembly, which is worried over the near collapse of security in the complex, has charged the management to come up with measures to curb the challenge, assuring that it would support the bureaucracy in its resolve to restore sanity to the institution.

A work plan which has already been approved by the National Assembly Clerk and made available to The Guardian include the decision to rehabilitate and put to use, the armouries already provided for in both chambers by the security personnel, to discourage indiscriminate sight of firearms at the lobby or offices.

Also, the demolition and removal of all the shanties, containers and other illegal structures within the complex is to be carried out within one month, particularly during the end of session recess of the two houses of the National Assembly, which begins from next week.

“Operation of all business outfits within the National Assembly premises will be effectively regulated and moderated.

“Again, modalities for operation in the Business Village is underway and will soon be established.

“In addition, banks within the premises must sight NASS identify and or accreditation card before rendering of service to persons.”

“Business outfits like dry cleaning, tailoring, wine shops, barber shops, and other related enterprises would be pruned down to meet the reality of need.”

It has equally been approved that a new parking permit would be worked out, just as the management said it planned to rehabilitate its original food canteen and restore them for their original purposes.

The National Assembly management is also set to prune down the number of business outfits in the complex to conform with the
renewed efforts.

A Director in the National Assembly, who is privy to the arrangement being put together to curtail the security threats said: “There are reports that some unauthorised visitors now use some of these business outfits as venue for illegal assembly and meetings within the complex.”

According him: “Such development negates and frustrates all efforts of management to create a peaceful and conducive working environment.”

He said all steps being taken are to complement the earlier strategies already evolved by the management to sanitise the finances of the National Assembly.

In March this year, the bureaucracy of the National Assembly literally relocated to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, as top management personnel of the country’s apex lawmaking body converged on the confluence state to evolve a detailed administrative, financial and procurement rules that would reposition the institution for more effective service delivery.

The proposed rules, which are expected to redefine the expenditure pattern of the National Assembly, are confirmed to have received the blessings of Senate President Bukola Saraki.