For the umpteenth time, President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to the security chiefs to go after insurgents, bandits and terrorists, saying they must not rest until all Nigerians are at rest.
The president also expressed happiness over the free and fair gubernatorial election held in Anambra and the roles played by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and reassured that nothing would threaten the 2023 general elections.
Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola stated this Thursday while briefing journalists at the end of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by the president at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Aregbesola said President Buhari appreciated the successes and gains recorded by all security chiefs, the security agencies and intelligence organisations on security situation nationwide after he received briefs from them at the meeting.
“He (Buhari) is of the belief that more must and should still be done. But he commended all of them for the progress we are recording on all fronts,” he said.
The minister further stated that the president ordered the armed forces and other security agencies, intelligence organisations, not to rest on their oars, notwithstanding the progress and efforts being made to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and all the other criminalities.
He said: “The president said that we are not yet where we should be. That Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And that until we achieved that we will not rest.”
The minister also said the president was particularly pleased with the outcome of the November 6 governorship elections that produced former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Professor Charles Soludo, as the Anambra governor-elect.
“The President was particularly happy with the fact that a free and fair election was made possible by the INEC and our security agencies.
“And that that is a good assurance to all Nigerians, that we are committed to promoting democracy, that is in respect of Anambra election.
“And he was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies, from the military to the police and all the other agencies made that possible with the support of the people and the government of Anambra.
“We all saw the outcome. With that there is no doubt as to the commitment of our administration to promoting democracy, and ensuring that 2023 is not in any way threatened,” Aregbesola said.
He said Buhari was also particularly happy with the news that the Head of INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Garba Umar, has been elected Vice President (Africa) and Executive Committee Member of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).
Asked if the resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highways was discussed at the meeting, Aregbesola said: “Oh, yes. The police and other security agencies had been mobilised to intensify surveillance, patrol in pursuit of the criminals.
“And it’s not only about Abuja-Kaduna. Yes, Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically, but we appreciated the fact that we are in the season of festivity.
“So, all agencies committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order, have been ordered to improve on their activities, intensify surveillance and minimize, if not eliminate totally any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria.”
Asked if the military or the police will be taking the lead, he said: “Police, as I said, is the lead agency on internal security.
“So whatever I’ve said about maintenance of law and order will start with the police and then extend to all the other security agencies, certainly.”
Also asked if the issue or bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some areas in the country was discussed, he said: “Specific orders have been given to all our security agencies.
“And we’ll see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form and creating insecurity in whatever form anywhere.
“The council, today, took firm decision on what to be done and I can assure Nigerians that with the charge from the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces today (Thursday), there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.”
On whether there were new strategies to that effect, especially as it was not the first time such charge would be given by President Buhari, the minister said: “But what I know is that for as long as there is life, we must not rest until our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerians is made possible.
“So, I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies, from the military, to the police, intelligence organisations and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”
Present at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Chief of Staff to the President Professor Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser (NSA) -ajor General Babagana Monguno (retd) and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General LEO Irabor.
Also in attendance were Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff as well as the Inspector General of Police Usman Baba Alkali.
Before the commencement of the meeting, President Buhari, with the assistance of Vice President Osinbajo, had decorated his Aide De Camp (ADC) Lt.-Col Yusuf Mukhtar Dodo with his new red neck rank of Colonel.
Troops kill 30 terrorists
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Thursday said troops of Operation HADIN KAI in the North-east have killed over 90 Boko Haram/ Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) terrorists and arrested 21 others.
The military also said a total of 996 terrorists and their families comprising 203 males, 302 females and 491 children surrendered to troops at different locations in Borno state.
Director Defence Media Operations (DMO) Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko stated this while briefing journalists on update of military operations across the country from 11 to 25.
He said troops also arrested a notorious terrorist named Mr Haladu Saleh, who had been on wanted list since 2018.
He said “In the course of these operations, no fewer than 90 terrorists were neutralized and 21 of them arrested.”
According to him, although a few setbacks were experienced in the course of these operations within the last 2 weeks, however, troops remained undaunted and determined in their quest to attain sustainable peace in the country through kinetic and non-kinetic operations.
He said: “Troops of Operation HADIN KAI within the period under review carried out extensive land and air operations across the theatre.
“Notably, on 12 November, 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI decimated BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements in offensive air strikes in a location within Baga near the Lake Chad.
“Similarly, on 13 November, 2021, own troops in a coordinated ground and air attacks, repelled terrorists’ attack on troops at Askira Uba in Borno state. During the counter-offensive operation, over 50 of the terrorists were neutralized and several of their combat equipment, including gun trucks and other weapons were destroyed.”
Speaking further, he said troops arrested Boko Haram logistics supplies and two drug peddlers named Mr Ezekiel Karson and Galadima Bako with large quantities of cannabis sativa.
He added that many kidnapped victims were freed and assorted weapons were seized from the terrorists.
“Also, 98 assorted weapons, including AK-47 rifles and 2,589 rounds of ammunitions were recovered within the period. Additionally, seven kidnapped civilians were rescued.
“Their fighting vehicles as well as large caches of arms and ammunition were recovered during the encounter. However, some of our gallant officers and soldiers paid the supreme prize,” he said.