The House of Representatives says bandits terrorising citizens are carrying out the heinous acts with arms procured for security agencies.
The House ad-hoc committee on the need to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria stated this when it sat on Friday.
Invited to appear before it are Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chie of Army Staff (COAS).
The duo were absent but Mr Attahiru sent a representative, Major-General C. Ofuche, but this was rejected by members of the committee led by Prince Olaide Akinremi who insisted that he must appear before them.
Mr Ofuche, in his response, said the army chief was on an assignment elsewhere in the country.
“You can bear witness to the fact that Nigeria is embroiled in serious security issues and year in year out appropriations were made and huge sums expended on procurement of arms and ammunition and yet in the whole of the whole of the arrests made you find these arms and ammunition with some of these bandits and miscreants,” a member of the committee, Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu from Sokoto State said.
“Some of them can be traced back to the very military or police. It is a serious issue and the National Assembly is well positioned to dig deep into the root of this issue and find solutions.
“As moved by my colleague there is need for a motion to allow the COAS come and make his submissions personally to this committee.
“In line with the position of the previous speakers, I want to reiterate that this is a very serious and sensitive security matter.
‘At least let us see the man. Being that this is the first meeting with the Nigerian Army, the accounting officer of the Army should have appeared to give us his account, his position as far as the communications made to him.
“For the chairman and secretariat there is no communication before that the COAS is having another schedule that may not allow him to be physically present here. That is a contravention to section 88, section 89 subsection 1, and of course section one of the Armed Forces Act 1994. So we are not witch-hunting but telling you what the law says,” he added.
Mr Akinremi who later briefed journalists after a closed door meeting said the apex bank chief took excuse for being absent and the committee has resolved to re-invite the duo to appear before it at a later date.