The Federal Government has agreed with many Nigerians that the country is in a dangerous security situation.
The government confessed that with the death of veteran Chadian president Idriss Deby, the absence of Chad’s influence on the border may worsen Nigeria and other neigbouring countries’ security situation.
It promised to beef up security around its borders, particularly with the Republic of Chad following the ongoing unrest in the country.
FG also said the spate of attack on police formations in the South East was an affront on Nigeria’s security architecture and warned that such would no longer be tolerated.
Minister of Defence Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd) disclosed this to State House Correspondents in Abuja at the special weekly briefing organised by the presidential communication team.
“Make no mistakes that our nation is bleeding now. It is bleeding because of the self-interest and other primordial considerations underlying decisions, which quite a number of our elite – political, ethnic and religious – make it so. Such elites are quick to attribute blames to groups other than theirs.
“The whole idea is to exploit the social division for their political gains and it is because of this divisiveness that Nigeria lacks a national consensus or common comprehensive understanding and the interpretation of what national security is. e.g Boko Haram, farmers/herders clashes, IPOB and other political associations that are coming up with different mandates and different concerns. All these can encourage groups to seek violence as a legitimate alternative.
“From here emerges a narrow vision of national identity and vision which threatens our country’s prospect of social cohesion and stability.
“This is why we’re seeing the rise of selfhelp syndrome often endorsed by states and local elites seeking violence as a legitimate alternative.
“The rise in vigilantalism and identity-based militia, who claim to be working for the political and ethno-religious emancipation of their people (resource control), secession and regionals self-determination, define the potent threats to the national security in our country.”
The minister also disclosed that government has come up with a comprehensive report on the identified enemies and taken a position, which he said he did not want to preempt.
“We have made a comprehensive brief as far as the security of this country is concerned and the methods we want to use in ensuring that we strategically and tactically get rid of all enemies of this country, be it political enemy, religious enemy, ethnic enemies and all the political enemies of this country.
“We have made a comprehensive report or research on that and we have taken our position, which I don’t want to preempt here but certainly we are coming back with that.
“What is important is that briefing, we are just trying to inform you of our impression and our concern as far as the security of this country is concerned.”
Magashi declared that stern action would be taken against those who killed some soldiers in Benue.
“The latest is the burning of our soldiers, brutal murder of about 11 soldiers and one officer and the military is not taking kindly to that.
“Let me just tell you this… I have been to the Benue State government, I have seen the governor and we have told him the blatant truth about the position of the military in this country.
“Whoever touches the military has no regard for this country and this country is governed by the rule of law and we have accepted democracy as a solution to the liberty of individuals in this country.
“We have been very firm, we have succeeded in reiterating to them what we actually want and we have got some answers that the weapons that were captured from the soldiers have been retrieved, at least we have nine of them out of 12 and the perpetrators have been captured and taken to the police for proper interrogation and subsequent prosecution.”
Magashi said the military would not be deterred but focused on eliminating all perceived threats as he expressed the hope that this objective could be achieved with the deployment of new military assets that would soon arrive.
He also confirmed that some individuals who fund Boko Haram have been arrested particularly in Kano State.
Magashi, said in order to prevent a situation where bandits will infiltrate the borders, influx of refugees into the country will be controlled.
“If there’s no security in Chad there will be a lot of trouble for all neighboring countries. But thankfully we have a lot of ongoing military cooperation, through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), which we expect to continue. We remain mindful of our borders and developments in Chad.
“When we heard of this unfortunate killing of the Chadian president, we knew that problem is bound to be replicated among neighbouring countries and Nigeria will be most hit by his absence. If there is insecurity in Chad, there will be a lot of problems. But thank God we have a lot of military activities with the Chadian, Niger Cameroon, we have all that military concern. So, in the name of that multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), all these countries, including Chad, are contributing countries for the operation. We hope that very soon, we will find a secured way of the continuation of the activities we’re supposed to be doing. The problem is now going to be aggravated because we are not sure the direction in which that country is going to face. But I assure you that we are mindful of our borders, we are mindful of the development, and politically, the government is putting its head together to see how best they can restore the peace in that country.
“So security wise, we’re beefing up all borders to ensure that refugees do not flow into a country.”
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