After the declaration of Fulani bandits as terrorists and bothered about the security problems all over the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, for the first time, gave marching orders to the security chiefs to go after insurgents, bandits and terrorists, at the meeting of the National Security Council, saying they must not rest until all Nigerians sleep with their eyes closed.
The President also ordered security agencies to intensify surveillance and patrol activities along the Abuja-Kaduna Road. Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the meeting.
The meeting availed the President of fresh insights into security developments across the country. The government is fighting different wars, contending with ISWAP and Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast, bandits in the Northwest and North Central, as well as IPOB in the Southeast and Oduduwa Nation agitators in the Southwest to contend with.
In attendance were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.) and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor.
Also at the meeting were the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and wife of ADC to the President, Dr Hindatu Bashir.
Aregbesola said the President expressed happiness over the free and fair gubernatorial election held in Anambra State, which saw the emergence of the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, as governor-elect and the roles played by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He reassured that nothing would threaten the 2023 general elections.
According to him, “the police and other security agencies had been mobilized to intensify surveillance, patrol and pursuit of criminals. And it is not only about Abuja-Kaduna highway.
“Yes, Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically, but we appreciate the fact that we are in the season of festivity. So, all agencies are committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order. They have been ordered to improve their activities, intensify surveillance and minimize, if not eliminate any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria.”
Asked if the military or the police will be taking the lead, the Minister said the police are the lead agency on internal security, “Therefore, maintenance of law and order will start with the police and then extend to all the other security agencies.”
Quizzed on the issue of bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some areas in the country, he said specific orders have been given to all our security agencies, adding that Nigerians should expect to see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form.
“The council today took a firm decision on what to be done and I can assure Nigerians that with the charge from the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces today, there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.
“The armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, intelligence organizations must not rest on their oars, as we are making progress in our effort to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and all the other criminalities because Nigerians deserve to live in peace,” he affirmed.
Asked what will be different since the President had given several charges in the past but the insecurity persists, Aregbesola said: “What I know is that for as long as there is life, we must not rest until our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerians is made possible.
“So, I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies, from the military to the police, intelligence organisations and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”
Giving details about the issues discussed at the meeting, the Minister said that Buhari, while commending INEC and the security agencies for ensuring a safe governorship election in Anambra, charged them not to rest on their oars as the country is still being ravaged by criminal and terrorist activities.
“While appreciating the successes and gains made by all the security agencies from the armed forces to the police and other intelligence organizations, as well as sister security agencies, he believes that more must still and should still be done.
“But he commended all of them for the progress we are recording on all fronts. The President was particularly happy with the fact that a free and fair election was made possible by the INEC and our security agencies.
“He was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies, from the military to the police and all the other agencies made that possible with the support of the people of Anambra and the government of Anambra. And we all saw the outcome,” he stated.
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