Security chiefs got a marching order from the President yesterday.
They must rescue unhurt all Nigerians held hostage by terrorists and kidnappers within the shortest possible time.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive at the National Security Council meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Luck Irabor, Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amoo, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Awwal Gambo, Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali and National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd).
The NSA, who brief reporters along with the IGP, said the President was particularly saddened by last month’s attack on a Kaduna-bound train by terrorists, who killed eight passengers, injured many and kidnapped scores.
According to Monguno, getting all those abducted freed without harm was the President’s number one directive to the security chiefs.
The NSA challenged the public to assist the security agencies with information on the activities of terrorists and other criminals, saying that what was required to stamp them out was human intelligence.
Gen. Monguno also gave reasons for the low usage of technology in tracking the terrorists.
He said: “Technology is expensive. Technology takes time to acquire since we do not produce this very delicate equipment.
“It’s not as if the government is not making any effort to acquire it but we need to know who to acquire technology from, where and when. There are certain processes. For now, I know we have some but they are inadequate.”
On alleged sabotage within the ranks and file of security agencies, Monguno said that the possibility could not be ruled out.
The NSA said: “Mr President spoke about his sadness in respect of the recent developments in the country, the recent security challenges we’ve had; in particular, the incident in which several Nigerians lost their lives and many more have been taken into captivity by criminals and bandits.
“Mr President has directed all the operational and intelligence elements to rescue these innocent people immediately and unhurt. This is the basis on which other issues were discussed.
“If something negative happens 10 times, will anyone be happy to allow it to continue? As the leader of this country, the father of the nation, he (Buhari) has to express his displeasure.
“You know, he is at the managerial level, he gives us instructions. And his displeasure is probably because he feels enough is not being done.
“We can’t put this thing on his shoulders completely. He’s at the strategic level, he takes the decisions. But when these things become endless, he has to express concern. And that’s just what he did.”
He added: “I submitted a memo to Council and my recommendations are being looked into by the President. My recommendations are wide-ranging and they touch on all aspects of security, starting with the level of security of our land borders, as well as within the country itself.
“In terms of securing the nation, we’ve recorded a lot of successes in the maritime domain and obviously, the problem now has shifted to our borders from outside.
“As a result of that, there’s a need for us to configure how we’re going to make our borders more secure because of the threats coming from outside the borders.
“The present situation calls for a collective effort by all, not just those that have been charged with the responsibility of physically securing the country, the most important thing, for now, is the acquisition of intelligence and the type of intelligence that is needed is human intelligence.
“I have to be very honest; unless the wider society, right down to the local governments, are willing to give the type of information that is needed to block the activities of these criminals, this situation will continue to linger beyond whatever timeframe we’re looking at, towards ending this big problem.”
President tasks monarchs, clerics
At an Ifta dinner with traditional rulers and religious rulers also in Abuja, Buhari advocated the involvement of ‘everyone’ in the efforts to defeat that causing insecurity in the country.
He tasked them to fulfil their natural role of sustaining the society by improving intelligence gathering on the movement and activities of criminals in their domain.
He said that those aiding and abetting terrorists were inadvertently destroying their own communities.
The President’s admonition was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
The statement partly reads: ‘’Today, insecurity is one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria’s existence. This administration has invested more resources than any other to tackle insecurity.
“We have acquired advanced equipment for our armed forces and the police to strengthen their capacity to confront terrorism and banditry. We have made adequate budgetary allocations for security.
“Whatever the security agencies request I make it available to them immediately.
“But insecurity is a worldwide phenomenon. The cure and the answer are for all sections of society to do their bit and confront the criminals head-on.
“The success of our armed and other security forces also depends on intelligence about the activities of bandits and terrorists.
“Those aiding and abetting terrorists are helping to destroy their own communities.
“Our traditional and religious leaders have a key role to play in terms of improving intelligence gathering about the movement of and activities of criminals in their domain.”
Obasanjo advocates state police
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who also expressed concern yesterday over the rising insecurity in the country, recommended the introduction of state police.
Ex-President Obasanjo, speaking when the leadership of the National Association of Ex-Local Government Chairmen in Nigeria visited him in Abeokuta, Ogun State yesterday, said: “Our situation in Nigeria concerns everyone, particularly, the case of terrorism. The case has gotten over the issue of community police. It is now state police. It is from that state police that we can now be talking about community police.
“There is also the need to strengthen the traditional system and the local government administration, which I prepared during the popular Murtala/Obasanjo administration because I believe that there is a need to enable that tier of government to work truly as a local government.”
Obasanjo commended the formation of the body, saying the development clearly showed that some local chairmen in the country were better than even the top elected leaders.
IGP explains high presence of Police in Southeast
IGP Alkali explained that the heavy presence of policemen on the highways in Southeast as against the Kaduna/Abuja Expressway was due to many factors.
“Deployment is determined by a lot of issues or yardsticks. Just like two states may have different numbers of local governments, so also there can be different numbers of formations in that state or in that formation.
“We have formations, we have state commands, we have zonal commands and so forth. So, deployment should not be based on either size or number of persons or threat assessment tool that place.
“It is all about how you police a particular place based on the number of people you have, based also on your ability to gather that manpower.
“What we normally do is to deploy from other states to go and complement the efforts of others in other states.”
Governors link insecurity to illicit drug use
Also yesterday, governors, in a communique issued after a virtual meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), linked rising insecurity to illicit drug use.
It followed a presentation by the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (retired).
“The forum expressed concern over the connection between drug use and rising insecurity across parts of the country.
“In furtherance to its March 2021 commitment to the agency when the NDLEA Chief Executive first presented to the forum, governors reiterated their commitment to maintaining logistical support to the agency, and committed to providing additional opportunities for operational synergy, including bringing the agency into the state’s Security Council meetings, and providing land for barrack operations,” the NGF said in the communique signed by its Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi.
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