Some senators on Tuesday engaged in a word of word over what they called as alleged lopsidedness in recent recruitments carried out by the Nigerian Army.
The federal legislators, who expressed anger over this development, stormed out of an interactive session with the Commander, Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army, Major General S.O Olabanji, when the acting Committee Chairman on Army, Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South), refused the lawmakers from asking questions, saying “this meeting is not for such enquiry.”
Trouble started when a member of the Committee, who is also the Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Senator Abdullahi Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP Sokoto South), fired a question at the Major General Olabanji on alleged lopsided nature of recruitment carried out by the Army recently.
Not comfortable with the questions posed on the Army General, Senator Moro, ruled out his colleagues from further questions.
Angered by this development, another member of the Committee, Senator Barinada Mpigi (PDP Rivers South East), raised the issue again, saying, “lopsidedness in recruitment is not an issue to be put aside or rule against.”
But Senator Moro again ruled against the enquiry, insisting that the session was not for review of recruitment made by the Army but on tactical Training and Doctrine of men and officers.
He said: “The questions being raised by my colleagues on alleged lopsided recruitments are being thrown to the wrong person. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt – Gen. Farouk Yahaya is the one who can do justice to such allegation or enquiry.”
Angered by the position of Abba Moro, the two lawmakers, who asked the questions on lopsided recruitment exercise, Danbaba and Mpigi, stormed out of the meeting.
Speaking with newsmen on what transpired at the session, after storming out of the meeting in anger, Senator Danbaba said he walked out from the meeting with Senator Mpigi based on dictatorial action of Senator Moro .
He said: “He shouldn’t have ruled us out of order since the Military man the question was directed to did not complain.
“The issue of marginalization in recruitment has never been responded to, it is part of the oversight process of the committee to ensure that whatever is to be done should be done to ensure Justice, the Nigerian army like any institution of government in Nigeria is supposed to comply with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and that Constitution has made it very clear that the issue of Federal Character and representation is paramount, is a constitutional issue.
“I’m not blaming the army, the army has been performing very well, but at the same time, the issue of recruitment is very very important. I left the meeting, I stormed out with Mpigi because we were angry.”
Explaining why he ruled out his colleagues while also speaking with newsmen, Abba Moro said he had no any regret for ruling Danbaba out of order as far as the issue of alleged lopsided recruitment was concerned.
He said: “Danbaba and Mpigi ‘questions were directed to a wrong person. What explanation were they expecting from Commander, Training and Doctrine Command on recruitment .
“Besides, the Committee had tabled the issue before the Chief of Army Staff few months ago with response bordering on physical and medical reasons for those recruited and those who failed in the exercise.”
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.