President Muhammadu Buhari says he is delighted that the newly appointed service chiefs have agreed to forge a durable relationship and cooperation in a bid to rout out bandits and insurgents particularly in the Northwest and Northeast parts of the country.
He said he had received comprehensive reports from the Chief of Defence Staff and the service chiefs, adding that the reports had fired his zeal to take care of their operational needs.
The National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the president’s meeting with security chiefs.
“The President said a situation where the armed forces are reactionary rather than being proactive will no longer be achieved.
“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 appointments, has illuminated the need for him to look deeper into certain aspects that need to be taken care of.
“The new service chiefs, as well as the intelligence community, and the constabulary forces have been given clear directives by the President to target those people who are the ones leading in creating chaos, disunity, and disharmony.
“He is particularly inspired and impressed by the way the new service chiefs have started their assignment, with all the operational visits they have made to the theatre, where they have been able to address the troops, look into their immediate needs and come up with immediate, medium and long term proposals.
“Mr. President is going to look into these things with the urgency they require, but he is particularly delighted that from what he has received from the Chief of Defence Staff, there is now a renewed vigour, there is now a willingness on the part of all the operational elements to work together, as well as also working hand in hand with the intelligence organizations,’’ Monguno said.
According to him, Buhari has ordered the nation’s security chiefs to identify bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors and take them out.
He said:“A situation where bandits and kidnappers are dictating the pace in the fight against insecurity will no longer be tolerated.
“After meetings with governors of the Northwest and North-central zones, Mr. President decided to call for an emergency meeting with heads of defence and security organisations.
“Prior to this meeting, he had also met with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum on issues directly linked to the state of insecurity in the nation. Today’s meeting was not a very long meetings, but the President looks at certain issues that were presented to him in the last one week.
“On the issue of kidnapping and banditry, this menace still persists, especially in the Northwest and the North-Central zones. Mr. President has been very emphatic, he 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.
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.
“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.’’
Monguno also said the president had declared that there will be no adjustment in whatever the National Security Council has already laid out until normalcy was restored.
“He is also aware of attempts by certain elements, working in cahoots with all kinds of people in and out of the country to continue with exploiting the minefields, especially In Zamfara State.
“A ban has been placed on mining and that ban has to be enforced, people have to comply with whatever the President has laid out.
“Of course, we, in the intelligence domain, are aware that there are individuals and groups who are planning to link up with all kinds of non-state actors in order to frustrate the efforts of government in implementing the ban on mining, as well as enforcing the no-fly-zone so that no rotary aircraft will land, drop whatever and pick up whatever. That has to be enforced.
“I’m also to send out a warning to those people who think they can continue to behave in a manner that undermines national security. Those people engaging in all kinds of underhanded, unscrupulous, mischievous and deceitful practices, people who are working with those that are in government, in particular, critical agencies of government.
“We have been able to identify certain areas that are weak and these areas have to be strengthened so that these characters who are engaging in acts that you can describe as outright acts of brigandage, people who are behaving in a manner that portends a lot of danger to innocent lives, have to be fished out,’’ Monguno said.
“This is the directive from the President, I am to send a warning to those people who think they’re in close proximity with those who have the instruments to make the space easy for criminals, those people who think they have some kind of authority, who are engaging in all kinds of Hocus Pocus in all kinds of jiggery pokery or skullduggery, those people will be brought down to their knees.
“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 National Security Adviser said.