Nigeria - Senate Approve Deployment Of 1,200 Troops To WAR In Mali

The Nigerian Senate has approved President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the deployment of 1200 Nigerian troops in Mali for “a limited combat duty.”
President Jonathan’s request reached the Senate on Thursday and was given immediate consideration – first, behind closed doors, and later approved in plenary.

In spite of the reservation by  the House of Representatives that it was not informed, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, clarified that because it was for “a limited combat duty,” only the Senate’s approval was required in line with Section 5(5) of the 1999 Constitution.

The Section reads: “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, the President, in consultation with the National Defence Council, may deploy members of the armed forces of the Federation on a limited combat duty outside Nigeria if he is satisfied that the national security is under imminent threat or danger:

“Provided that the President shall, within seven days of actual combat engagement, seek the consent of the Senate and the Senate shall thereafter give or refuse the said consent within 14 days.”

Jonathan, in his letter, drew the attention of the Senate to the political and security crisis in Mali and its grave consequences on the security situation and stability in the Sahel and the entire West African sub-region.

He said, “Having satisfied myself that our national security is under imminent threat of danger as a result of the crises in northern Mali, I, in consultation with the National Defence Council, approved the deployment of a contingent of 1,200 members of the armed forces to serve in the African-led force in Mali for limited combat duties.”

Jonathan explained that the ECOWAS had set up a working group to work out the best way to implement the resolution of the UN Security Council resolution which endorsed the deployment of an African-led force, under Chapter VII for the resolution of the political and security crises in Mali.

All the senators who spoke during the debate, called for support for the deployment of troops in Mali, while some called for a review of the nation’s foreign policy in order to maximise the benefits of Nigeria’s intervention in such conflicts.

President of the Senate, David Mark, said, “The situation is such that if we don’t get involved, we may not be able to cope with the consequences and that it is on that basis I think we should act and act fast.

“I believe that the request is in order and our troops had performed extremely well any time they go outside this country.”

Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba, blamed the Malian problem on military incursion in governance, noting that the lessons should be learnt that military interventions were no longer acceptable and such regimes were out of fashion.

Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, while supporting the request, said it was in Nigeria’s national security interest to send troops to Mali.

Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi, urged senators to support the mission, noting that African affairs had been the centre of Nigeria’s foreign policy and which should not be altered.
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