NSA absent as service chiefs get fresh order to end killings

• Nigeria takes delivery of another batch of Super Tucano jets next week
• Terrorists in Zamfara being clothed as bandits, says Akeredolu

Three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari met with service chiefs, where he vowed not to leave office as a failure, the President, yesterday, gave marching orders to heads of security agencies to end what he called the selective abductions and killings, particularly, in the North-Central and Northwest.

He directed security chiefs to find tactics to solve the security challenges in the country. The President gave the order after receiving a briefing from security heads at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He commended them for their efforts so far, which he said, are yielding positive results in the Northeast and Southeast.

Conspicuously absent was the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd). On August 19, President Buhari promised to do everything possible to address the security challenges facing the country and expressed his wish not to leave government in 2023 “as a failure”. Monguno, who briefed State House reporters after that meeting, said the President expressed happiness over the successes recorded so far by the security agencies in the fight against insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal elements in various parts of the country.

But between the last meeting of the President with security chiefs and yesterday, there were some major security breaches, such as invasion of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State, mass abductions in Zamfara State and reprisal killings in Plateau State.

Monguno’s absence yesterday raised a cloud of dust, especially after last Wednesday’s sacking of the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono for ‘non-performance’. It was gathered that more heads are expected to roll as President Buhari begins an unprecedented move to weed out non-performing ministers from his cabinet.

The service chiefs at yesterday’s meeting were led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor. The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, were all in attendance.

The president’s position was made known to State House correspondents by IGP Alkali after the three-hour meeting. He said the President also directed them to redouble their efforts to restore security across the country to enable citizens go about their normal businesses.

He said: “Service chiefs and the intelligence chiefs have been able to brief the President on the security situation in the country. The President has also observed and made a remark that the constitutional responsibility of government is the provision of security, and he is ready to provide such.

“We should reinvigorate our efforts, which are yielding results in the Northeast, Southeast, but there is more to be done in the North-Central and Northwest, where people are worried. He has intelligence and information that schoolchildren and students are abducted, selective abductions and killings are going on. This narrative must change. We have assured him and promised him that we’ll make efforts to do more.”

The Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), also told newsmen after the meeting that the government reviewed the situation in the country and concluded that it can resolve the security challenges, especially in Zamfara State, with the cooperation of Nigerians.x

According to Magashi, another batch of six A-29 Super Tucano Jets will arrive in the country next week while the jets in the first batch already delivered are being test run.

The Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, has said the military onslaught against bandits is yielding tremendous success, especially since the shutdown of telecoms services in the state.

In a media briefing yesterday, Dosara said: “The security officials are finding it very easy to deal with the bandits in their enclaves in the forests. Some identified camps were destroyed by the Air Force while the army is also on the ground to neutralise those who managed to escape through footpaths.”

Speaking further, the Commissioner said other measures have also been taken based on credible information and intelligence available to the government. “These include the immediate closure of the following places suspected to be harbouring bandits and their collaborators,” Dosara said.

According to him, such places include some illegal motor parks and roadside markets, especially those at Kaura Namoda-Jibia road, Lambar Bakura junction, Mayanchi-Anka junction, Garejin Mai Lena, as well as Filin Jirgi rice and vegetables market in Gusau Metropolitan.

SIMILAR measures were taken on Monday in Katsina State, where Governor Aminu Masari banned all commercial phone-charging points in 18 of the 34 local councils of the state as part of measures to tackle the scourge of banditry.

Governor Masari believes that the latest measure, coupled with further collaborations with the Federal Ministry of Communications will drastically reduce the menace of banditry in the state. “The latest instruction that we gave out is the closure of all commercial charging points in the most affected local government areas. Commercial charging, we believe, is also an area which is helping the bandits to acquire means of communication,” he said.

THE Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has, however, said those who are referred to as bandits in Zamfara are actually terrorists. Akeredolu said this yesterday while receiving members of the Governing Board of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, led by the Chairman, Ambassador Dr. Godknows Boladie Igali; and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Adeola Fuwape, at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde, in a statement, said the governor emphasised the need to make the country livable for the people so as to harness their talents for national growth.

Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, raised the alarm that Nigerians are living in fear over the unending insecurity across the country. He lamented that “the people are living in fear and something must be done urgently to address the situation and restore hope to the minds of the people.

“Look at what is happening in Zamfara. They try to clothe it and call them bandits. They are terrorists. So, the growth in science cannot be based on just your charge but the conducive environment in the country.

“To achieve Nigeria’s goals for science and technological advancement, the country must be made conducive for living, particularly for the young ones. For us in science and technology, we need to do more. Japan, China, and other developed countries send people to where science is the best.

“We have heard of countries that send their people to USA to train in Science and Technology. They didn’t stay there. They went back to their country to develop it. Commitment to one’s country is key. But we need to make this country a livable place so that the young ones will be confident and have hope to live in this country.”

Speaking on open grazing, Akeredolu emphasised the need for the country to embrace modern ways of animal husbandry, describing open grazing as old and now illegal in the state.

“Today, I can say there are modern ways of animal husbandry and we have to take the bull by the horns. We are not afraid to take decisions. Modernity has taught us that you can extract more milk from cows in a modern way better than when you take them from one place to another. It is about science. People have developed that science.

“I am happy when I see Mr. President go to Katsina and visit his cows. They are well kept. That is the technology of animal husbandry, we must embrace it.”

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