The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi has disclosed the outcome of Tuesday’s security meeting President Buhari had with service chiefs and heads of security agencies.The Minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari has given heads of security agencies a marching order to end banditry and other forms of insecurity in Nigeria.
He made this known while briefing journalists after a security meeting with the President on Tuesday.
The President had received briefings from the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, and other heads of security agencies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Ministers of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama were also present at the meeting.
The attendees while briefing the president on the current security situation across the nation also proffered solutions. Top of the issues discussed were surrounding banditry in the North-west and North-central zones.
In recent times, many states in the two zones have been ravaged by activities of bandits who abduct citizens for ransom and sometimes kill at will.
As part of efforts to curtail this, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday, ordered telecom operators to suspend their networks in Zamfara State which is considered a strong base of the terrorists.
This development followed the suspension of weekly markets and other drastic measures in the adjoining troubled North-west and North-central states to check activities of bandits in the regions.
Following this and the spike in the military onslaught on their hideouts, bandits have intensified attacks in Zamfara and Katsina, looting shops to stockpile foodstuff while the measures remain in place.
The Defence Minister while commenting on the recent military offensive in Zamfara, said the military was capable of putting an end to the menace.
Magashi stressed that there was a need to urgently put an end to the banditry in the regions which will also end the ongoing indiscriminate killings. He, therefore, enjoined citizens to collaborate with security agents to identify the terrorists.
The Defence Minister said, “This meeting was called in order to keep the C-in-C abreast of the current happening in the North-west and North-central, in respect of the improvements, problems and any other thing associated with the insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and the rest of it.
“From the meeting, we believe that the spate at which these things are happening in Zamfara State and North-central is a source of concern to the government and to all agencies that are responsible for the execution of the operations in the North-central.
“We discussed the need for urgency in our dealing with the bandits. We believe they are becoming a nuisance; killing people. They are doing what they like, they make careless statements, and they say what they think they should say in order to solicit the kind of audience they want from the society.”
According to him, the security agents “have gone a long way in keeping the country together”, adding that “they are doing better compared to what it was during the previous administration”.
Magashi said, “If one looks back, prior to our coming, 2014, you’ll find that there is a lot of improvement, but people are not seeing it anymore.
“They believe probably we are incapable or there is something which we don’t know, but we are trying to find out why people are not appreciating the efforts of the government.
“We have appraised our position. We have found that we are capable. We can do this thing, but we need the cooperation of every Nigerian in order to ensure a free society.
“Security, as far as this country is concerned, is the paramount important thing in this country, without security, nothing will happen and the Commander in Chief has emphasised this today that without security, nothing can go.
“So, he has directed us to find ways, tactics, and style with which we can get out of this (insecurity) and we assured him that we will do our best to ensure the mission is successful.
“We will do all we can to ensure the completion of this mission, especially when equipment and other things are available to support the course of our tactical manoeuvres and that we will do very well from now.”