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Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Bagudu Atiku, has said the Nigerian Immigrations Service has lost 400 officers to terror attacks in the country.
He also said the several jailbreaks in the country, numbering 11 in the last one year, had also resulted in the killings of prisons officers.
Atiku, who spoke to Senate correspondents at the National Assembly on Monday, noted that the figures were made available to his committee the last time the members went for oversight visits.
He said, “The Immigration Service lost over 400 personnel to the security challenges in the country. In the past one year, Nigeria has recorded 11 jailbreaks.”
He said although the nation’s borders in the North-East had posed serious problems in terms of curtailing the insurgents, the deployment of technology and the increment in personnel would check the menace.
“We need to give more arms to the prison service. The prison service should not be considered a secondary arm of the security system; it is a major one,” he said.
He argued that the failure of the attempt to amend the Constitution on prisons reflected in the fears people had for the call for state police.
On the borders, Atiku said, “Our boder with Cameroon has always been a problem. Chadians coming to the North-East are always armed and use firearms, because Chad had been in war.
“We are members of the ECOWAS group of nations. We are committed to free entry and exit. Even if we seal our borders, we can’t stop ECOWAS members from coming into our country.
“Fencing 4,000 miles border will be very difficult. Technology has changed the way we monitor the borders, with increased use of technology and more personnel, we can achieve more with less spending.”
He also commented on the voting on amendment to Section 29 of the Constitution, which defines the age when a person comes to a full age, with an additional condition, spelling out that a woman who is married, is deemed to be of full age.
He said, “The argument that brought this furrow is the renunciation of citizenship. There was an attempt to remove its second element which relates to a woman who is married and that failed.
“Around the world, marriage below the age of 18 is allowed. I am not saying that it is right, but it is allowed. We were not debating child marriage, and that is not what we contemplated.”
Another Senator, Akin Odunsi, who spoke on the same issue, said the Senate did not create the section, arguing that the provision was extant in the Constitution and that the review committee recommended that it be removed, but the Senate could not raise the number of votes to pass it.