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Buhari, govs seek better protection of civilian communities

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PresidentMuhammadu Buhari and state governors have enjoined field commanders to take measures to effectively protect civilian communities as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and Nigerians.

They also called for a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits.

A statement issued yesterday by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, after a three-hour meeting to review the security situation in the country observed: “It is hoped that when the trust that has been lost between both parties is re-established, there would be improved cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing.”

It explained that the gathering also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment were at the root of the problem.

The forum, coordinated by President Muhammadu Buhari and attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies and members of the Security Committee of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), represented by a governor from each of the six geo-political zones in a virtual format, focused on the country’s security policies and approaches in tackling the challenges with a charge that intelligence gathering and sharing must be optimised for the nation to secure itself.

The President dispelled the widespread assumptions that the terrorists in the North East were better armed and motivated, stressing that what is left of them (insurgents) were “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops, markets and killing innocent persons in the process.”

He expressed concern that amid border closure, the hoodlums were still accessing small arms.

“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms?” he queried the security and intelligence chiefs.

The Nigerian leader informed the governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China and the United States, but again asked for patience, as the items must be manned by fighters and pilots with topmost training.

They also pointed to the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs, playing up their own security roles which included the $1 billion they sanctioned the President to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account for arms procurement two years ago.

The governors, therefore, urged Buhari to consider a ‘bail out’ for security of the states in view of the enormous resources they now expend to support the military and the police.


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