The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday held a closed session with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa in Abuja, saying Nigerians must get involved to put an end to the insecurity in the country.
Buratai said the military cannot do it alone and therefore urged Nigerians to get involved in the war against banditry and terrorism through information sharing with security personnel.
He told State House correspondents after his meeting with Buhari that 90 percent of kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers operating in some parts of the North are Nigerians.
“There is need for the citizens to be involved in sharing information with security personnel,’’ he said.
Persecondnews recall that in June President Buhari had in a meeting with Service Chiefs and other security chiefs warned that he would no longer tolerate escalation of insecurity and excuses.
Buhari had told the security chiefs: “Your best is not good enough”, frowning at lack of synergy among the security heads and told them to work together to address the security challenges facing the country.
On July 18, armed bandits had killed 16 soldiers and injured 30 in an ambush near Shimfida in Jibia council area of Katsina State.
In a related development, kidnappers and bandits had swooped on a Kaduna community last week and abducted six people including a police woman and her son.
Buratai said: “As to whether banditry, terrorism and so on will end, I think it all depends. If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from foreign land.
“These terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians. So it’s not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that.
“Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time. It is the totality of your effort that will determine the escalation or containment of the insecurity in the country.
“Is not today that we have been containing armed robbery, as far as I know, armed robbery has been existing in this country even before we were born and it is still going on. Kidnapping too is as old as the history of the country but it all depends on the level it’s been perpetuated at a particular time.
“Terrorism is relatively new and insurgency, we have had that experience before and we contained it, just like the different crisis we have had in different locations. We had the Maitatsine issue, few other uprising in history we have contained them, and the unfortunate civil war has come to an end. So any other crisis will also come to an end. The terrorism, insurgency will come to an end but the important thing is that it’s been contained. It is not allowed to spread the way it use to be.
“Whatever that is happening you can only be apprehensive and express discontentment where there is serious insecurity and nothing is being done. But if serious efforts is being done to contain the situation, I believe the right thing for any right thinking individual to do is to be hopeful and support the efforts of all the agencies that are involved in containing the situation.’’
On setbacks on military operations, Buratai said: “There are setbacks that can occur in such military operations or any security operations but that does not mean inability to handle it, incompetence to handle it, as long as the efforts are there and are visible, the support of all and sundry will be required to address it squarely.
“Like I said, if we want it to end, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into it to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
“But if we don’t do anything and continue to complain, and continue to accuse the agencies involved in fighting it, then we are not helping matters. You are supposed to find solutions as something is being done on a daily basis. I assure you that we will soon reach the end of the tunnel and we will see the light that will improve the security situation in all parts of the country.”
On the situation in the Northwest, the army chief said the situation was already improving, attributing it to steps taken by officers and men of the Nigerian Army in collaboration with other security agencies.
Buratai commended his men involved in the peacekeeping operation in the zone and other parts of the country for a job well done again with a promise that normalcy will soon be restored to the affected areas.