Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, has vowed that terrorists and bandits would be flushed out by December.
This was just as Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said terrorists and bandits were now on the run, over the superior firepower from the country’s armed forces.
They spoke at a joint press conference in company of ministers of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, retd; Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; as well as Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dingyadi, in Abuja, yesterday.
Aregbesola noted that although insecurity preceded this administration, the December deadline to flush out every form of insurgency stands. “Our nation is faced and continue to face security challenges; the origin of these changes we must all know preceded our administration, regardless of what anybody wants to believe or say.
“Insecurity preceded us and there are insurgents in the North East, bandits in parts of the North West and North Central, militants in the South South, separatists in the South East and ritual killers in the South West.
“All over the country, we have constant attacks on pipelines, electricity cables and other critical national infrastructure. Crude and refined oil theft and kidnapping for ransom and farmers/herders clashes. Security agencies rose to these challenges and have largely degraded the group’s constituting the threats.
“What we face mostly now are clashes of cowardly attacks from those have been routed in one local or the other moving to give the false impression that they are still strong…that is the essence of the scattered nature of their strikes.
“Our ultimate goal is to eliminate them all together and restore total peace in every inch of the Nigerian soil, that we are going to do, by God’s grace, by December of this year.
“It is sounding tall but take it home; we are determined to ensure that every inch of the Nigerian soil is safe. The determination is there and the order has been given.”
Information minister told Nigerians that the rein of terrorists and bandits across the country was over.
“…We are here to tell you that while we may not be there yet, our military and other security agencies have succeeded – and are succeeding – in substantially restoring security across the nation. As far as the daunting security challenges we face are concerned, we can tell you that the worst is over. Never again will terrorists and bandits and their cohorts hold sway in our country…
“The security challenges we have face, as an Administration, have been daunting – from terrorism to banditry to kidnapping to separatist violence to crude oil theft to armed robbery and sundry crimes. It’s undoubtedly the greatest challenge to the peace and security of our great nation since the civil war from 1967 to 1970. It is the kind of challenge that would have overwhelmed many nations. But thanks to the purposeful leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, we can say, I want to repeat, that the worst is over and peace and security are gradually returning to the land. Please don’t misunderstand or misrepresent this assertion. We may still witness isolated cases of security challenges here and there, but it will not be on the scale that we have witnessed in the past.
“…Some said the security challenges have overwhelmed the military, but the military has now demonstrated that no group of ragtag criminals can ever overwhelm them. Terrorists and bandits and co can run but cannot hide, and this has been demonstrated by the arrest of those who attacked a church in Owo (Ondo State). These criminals can run but cannot hide, as we have seen in the decimation of the cowards who ambushed the Brigade of Guards troops in Abuja…”
On his part, Magashi disclosed that the country recently foiled theft of $500 million worth of crude oil in the South South.
“…The critical military objective of total defeat of the terrorists in the North East, is already being achieved.”
He also that the successes of the armed forces has decimated the ranks of terrorists such that displaced citizens in the North East are now returning to their homes.
“Synchronised ground and air operations have continued to inflict huge casualty on the terrorists and have been forcing many of them, including commanders and amirs, to surrender in droves, with members of their families. Whilst areas where terrorists hitherto had some freedom of action are being cleared, socio-economic life is gradually returning to most parts of the North East. Erstwhile IDPs are now returning to their ancestral homes to start life all over, in dignity, under safer and more secure environment.”
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