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The Senate on Thursday condemned the gruesome killings of stranded travellers by Boko Haram terrorists on the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway on Sunday.

The Senate urged the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to send relief items to the affected families and rehabilitate the affected communities.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday made a similar call.

The Senate came to these resolutions after former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, who is the senator for Borno Central District where Auno village is situated, lamented the massacre.

The military had barred the travellers plying the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway on Sunday from entering Maiduguri after its 6 p.m. deadline for shutting the highway’s gate.

The gate was erected to check the influx of insurgents into Maiduguri.

The insurgents attacked the travellers massed at the gate, killed 30 of them and burnt down about 18 vehicles before abducting many persons, including children.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the state but stayed away from Auno, the affected village. The president was booed by displeased residents.

Auno is 15 kilometres to the Maiduguri airport or about 20 minutes road drive. Prior to his departure, Mr Buhari blamed Borno leaders for not doing enough to tackle insurgency locally. Hours later, another round of fire was opened on residents of Jiddari Polo, a town on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

Legislative deliberations

Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue) said the ninth assembly, since inauguration, has been preoccupied with discussion on the spate of insecurity in the country.

“We must move beyond talking on the floor here of massive killings of our people. In the past, we have heard that Boko Haram has been exterminated and (it came) from the military that they have finished with Boko Haram,” Mr Suswam said.

“I think that beyond mere propaganda, let us address this issue by going to the source,” he added. “It is not about intelligence; we don’t lack intelligence. These people come in trucks and people who come with trucks cannot be invisible. They come in trucks and they are well-armed.”

When the Senate, in line with its tradition, resolved to observe a minute silence in honour of the memory of the deceased, Minority Leader Eyinnaya Abaribe expressed concerns.

“If we stand here for one minute for every victim who has died in this carnage all this while, we are going to probably stand for 28 or 29 days, we will be standing just because of people who have died.”

Resolution

On that note, the Senate urged the defence headquarters to find out what transpired in Auno. It also called on the military to open a military base in Auno to intensify efforts in the fight against insurgency in the north-east.

Reading the resolutions, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said there the “security architecture as presently constituted and designed is simply not giving the outcome we want and we need.

“Going forward, we have to find a better structure and architecture for our security to provide the necessary service that we need. When we hold people responsible, they are likely to perform better.

“Time has come for us to ensure that governance is done like it’s business, you employ someone, give the person a target. He accepts on the basis of the fact that he can meet the target. If he doesn’t meet the target and there is no cogent explanation or reasons, why he fails, then he should go,” Mr Lawan said.

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