Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff, says the absence of the service chiefs from the meeting of the house of representatives last Friday was not a deliberate act to disrespect the lawmakers.
Olonisakin spoke on Monday at a meeting with the leadership of the house of representatives in Abuja.
Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, had invited the service chiefs to discuss the country’s security crisis but they did not show up when it was first scheduled.
The absence of the service chiefs angered Gbajabiamila who threatened to report them to President Muhammadu Buhari.
But Olonisakin said the service chiefs recognised the concern of the house but was unable to appear on Friday “due to other national assignments”.
He thanked the leadership of the house for the opportunity to interact with them on the issues of insecurity in the north-east.
“We are here to listen to the security concerns of the house and address them with the support of the legislature,” Olonisakin said.
“Our various chiefs of operations were here to represent us, they are senior officers in charge of the various headquarters and are qualified to respond to issues.
“I wish to put on record that contrary to insinuations, the absence of the service chiefs on Friday was not a deliberate act to disrespect the institution of the assembly.
“We hold the national assembly in the highest regard and wish to appreciate the institution for the support in the fight against insurgency.”
He said the armed forces in collaboration with other security and intelligence agencies have been contending with terrorism for many years in the region.
He said in spite of the challenges, appreciable progress had been made in the fight against insurgency in the zone.
He added that the armed forces will continue to strategise to address the changing operational situation of the insurgents
Earlier, Gbajabiamila said the essence of the meeting was to discuss the security situation in Nigeria.
He said the meeting was called by the leadership of the house to find out what the challenges were and what the house could do to address them.
“Security is one of the major concerns of this government and we have an obligation to arrest the situation and do whatever we can,” he said.
“Like in every democracy, there is collaboration among arms of government, only when we collaborate that we get the required results.”