President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the nation’s security and intelligence chiefs to reinforce efforts towards identifying bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors with a view to bringing them to their knees.
Buhari, who decried the deteriorating security warned that a situation where bandits and kidnappers dictate the pace even while state operators engage the elements will no longer be tolerated by his administration.
Briefing newsmen Tuesday, after an emergency meeting with the nation’s security chiefs, before President Buhari’s scheduled departure to London for a routine medical check-up, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (Rtd) said: “It is extremely important for these people, I’m sending out a message to them, anybody who thinks he can continue to pool whatever resources he has at his disposal, to frustrate the efforts of the central government in bringing about peace and security will have himself to blame.”
The NSA quoted Buhari as also decrying the situation where the nation’s military had become reactionary rather than proactive.
Monguno said Buhari insisted that all the decisions approved at last month’s National Security Council meeting, including the ban placed on mining activities in Zamfara as well as the no-fly zone directive, remain enforced until further notice to curb the rising insecurity in the state.
He stated that prior to the meeting, President Buhari had also met with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum on issues directly linked to the state of insecurity in the nation.
He noted that Tuesday’s emergency meeting afforded the President to look at certain issues that were presented to him in the last one week.
“Mr. President, in particular, emphasised that the comprehensive reports he has received from the Chief of Defense Staff and the service chiefs, following their recent appointment, has illuminated the need for him to look deeper into certain aspects that need to be taken care of,” Monguno said.
The NSA said the president expressed dismay over the persisting menace of kidnapping and banditry, especially in the Northwest and the North-Central zones.
“Mr. President has stated very clearly that this problem must be brought to an end, but using the traditional methods that the armed forces have been trained to deploy,” he said.
“Mr. President has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that the first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits, kidnappers and take them out, in order to restore confidence in those areas.
“Mr. President has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation whereby bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tone and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reactionary rather than being proactive.
“He has also indicated his willingness to provide all the resources required by our own troops in order to put down these criminals. They must be brought down with all the ruthlessness that is required and whoever is working in collaboration with them will be brought to book.”