The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi says Nigeria is in a critical situation following the insurgency in the northeast, banditry in the Northwest and attacks in other parts of the country.
He stated this on Monday during a national security and defence summit held at the National Defence College in Abuja.
“We are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task,” he said while restating the imperative of kinetic measures to address the current security challenges in the country.
“This is important to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.
“It is in this light that I consider this National Defence and Security Summit organized by the DHQ as both apt and timely. I therefore affirm and declare my support for it,” he added.
The minister also called for support from the civilian populace and other major stakeholders to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.
While commending the timely nature of the summit, Magashi regretted that some merchants of violence were threatening to tear the foundations of the country.
According to him, the summit comes at a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all sub-national entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern.
“Physical insecurity in Nigeria expectedly has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security. Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development, and social inequalities.”
Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country.
The country has been battling terrorism for more than a decade which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the Northeast.
The Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.
On March 1, jihadist fighters burnt down a United Nations humanitarian compound in the town of Dikwa after dislodging troops, killing six civilians.
Nigeria’s jihadist violence has spread to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to combat it.