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Buhari, dealing with unceasing security threats

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
21 December 2021   |   4:04 am
Several high caliber meetings of security heads have taken place at the Presidential villa to address the failing security in the country.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari arrives for the opening ceremony of the “Paris Peace Forum” at The Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris on November 11, 2021. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Several high caliber meetings of security heads have taken place at the Presidential villa to address the failing security in the country.

Despite these meetings, where the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, surrounds himself with service chiefs at the end of which the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen Mohammed Babagana Mungono (ret.d) or the IGP Usman Alkali Baba will brief the nation and make repeated promises to step up assault on the marauders, killings by bandits and terrorists have intensified.

From the Northeast, where rag tag Boko Haram began a little over a decade ago, terrorism, banditry and barefaced criminality have spread fast into Northwest, North-central while other poorly managed unrests in Southeast and Southwest have escalated.

Such was the case when many called for rejigging of the security apparatus, including sacking of former service chiefs. For long, President Buhari resisted that call, even when it became clear the top brass officers had reached their wits end.

When he reluctantly appointed new service chiefs, there was renewed hope that the new helmsmen would deploy fresh strategies to address turn around the situation. There have been strategic moves and initiatives in this direction.

For instance, Operation Puff Adder (Nigerian Police), Operation Harbin Kunama 3 (Nigerian Army) and Exercise Egwu Eke 3 (Nigerian Army) were launched in 2019, to complement the existing Operations Sharan Daji (launched in 2016 by the Nigerian Army) and Diran Mikiya (launched 2018 by the Nigerian Air Force), among others.

Notwithstanding these operations under different tags, citizens have continued to remind the President that the menace of marauding herders, banditry and kidnappings have ensured that security of life and property no longer exists in the country.

The attack on the well fortified Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) made the situation more alarming. Citizens became worried that if such high caliber military institution for the training of military officers could be so brazenly and cheaply overwhelmed by bandits without resistance, it therefore goes to show the weakness and lack of capacity of this government to stay on top of security matters.

Citizens have argued that what comes out of security meetings, at best, are mere wishes, which are usually followed by series of condolence messages, to victims of kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits.

President Buhari recently dispatched a high-level security delegation to Sokoto and Katsina States in response recent killings in that area.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Malam Garba Shehu confirmed the development in a statement in Abuja, saying the delegation is made up of the heads of the nation’s intelligence and security services.

According to Sheuh, the President is expecting an immediate situation report and recommendations on actions to follow to effectively deal with the worrying situation.

He said Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i, and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major Gen. Samuel Adebayo are also on the delegation, led by the National Security Adviser, Monguno (rtd).

This came barely twenty four hours after the President inaugurated sophisticated Navy Ships, Patrol Boats and helicopter at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island in Lagos to boost security at the maritime borders.

Recall also that scores of commuters were recently confirmed burnt to death after bandits suspected to be loyal to Bello Turji opened fire on a vehicle conveying 24 people from Sabon Birni to Rijiyar Ladan village in Sabon Birni local government area of Sokoto State.

The passengers were said to be travelling from Sabon Birni local council to Sokoto town when the bus conveying them was stopped around Gidan Bawa village, where bandits blocked the road and set the vehicle ablaze.

President Buhari had in a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, expressed sadness over the attack on the innocent travellers.

In apparent despondency about the wave of killings in the country, the apex Muslim organisation in Nigeria, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, recently decried the disturbing dimension of the security situation in parts of Nigeria with inability of security agencies in the country to confront the monstrous trend head-on. 

“Our position is reinforced by the government’s inaction to hold erring security officials responsible. In other words, there is a clear essence of lack of accountability, security chiefs and their subordinates appear not to be made to pay for their inaction or irresponsibility,” the JNI alleged.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal also briefed President Buhari on the security situation in the State where the President assured him of the commitment and support of the Federal Government, towards full restoration of peace and security.

“I have the full assurance of our security chiefs that these heartless bandits and criminals will be smoked out, wherever they might be, and brought to justice. We will not rest until this is achieved. 

However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, other eminent Nigerians and leaders of apex socio-cultural organisations have warned against the politicisation of matters bordering on security of life and property in the country. 

According to them, politicisation of insecurity will not do the nation any good but aggravate the already fragile situation in the country.

They gave the warning at a one-day ‘Retreat on Inclusive Security’ organised by Global Peace Foundation, in collaboration with Vision Africa in Abuja.

They appealed to the nation’s elite to refrain from comments that could widen the “gulf of trust deficit amongst many divides” that make up the insurgency will not go away if all we are using is the ‘stick’ (military action). We may suppress it, and keep it down a bit, but we have to use ‘carrot and stick’ together to effectively tackle the problems.”

The Sultan, who lamented the recent spate of insecurity in the country, said that lives should be considered sacred and that the leaders should rather be circumspect than carrying on as though all is well.

There is therefore the need for urgent intervention by those saddled with the responsibility of providing security for the citizens to embrace the carrot and stick option as proposed by Obasanjo and halt the rising insecurity and avert an impending catastrophe.