From Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
- Religious leaders call for end to arms rise
- Governors meet on security, economy
A rejig of the nation’s security operations has commenced in response to the growing insecurity in many parts of the country.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Major. Gen. Babagana Monguno, stated this on Tuesday after the National Security Council meeting at the State House in Abuja.
According to the NSA, President Muhammadu Buhari, who presided over yesterday’s meeting, gave the directive, adding that he is “working on something” with Minister of Defence Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi in that regard.
Gen. Monguno told reporters after the meeting that the Preisdent directed a “rejig of our strategy, both in terms of operations and intelligence, to further prevent catastrophes. We must bear in mind that we owe a duty to the people that elected this government and at the end of the day, without securing the nation, all other things such as revamping the economy and fighting corruption cannot be addressed.
He added: “I know it has not been easy, there has been a gradual loss of confidence over the years and the president is determined to restore confidence.
Speaking specifically on what transpired at yesterday’s meeting, the NSA said: “What the President said today was virtually a reaffirmation of what he said the first time. Yes, Mr President said you are doing your best, as far as I’m concerned, but there’s still a lot more to be done. I’m more concerned about the promise we made to the larger Nigerian society and I am ordering an immediate re-engineering of the entire security apparatus. This is something that I believe will be done in a very short time, but I just want us to keep hope alive.
“I know how everybody feels, I know how Nigerians feel. Definitely, the President is not oblivious of the fact that securing the nation is a primary responsibility of government and I believe in his sincerity, but again, since he’s not an octopus, since he’s not a spirit, if he delegates to people, then, the onus is on them to actually fulfil the legitimate expectations of the larger Nigerian society.
“The office of the National Security Adviser, in conjunction with other security agencies, will work on a blueprint in a short, medium and a long term to address this matter”.
Asked on President Buhari’s earlier marching orders to service chiefs to shape up and live up to their task, Monguno said: “basically, these are operational matters that are best dealt with by the Minister of Defense.
“I know that there’s something that he’s working on, which has led to this meeting being delayed slightly, this meeting was actually supposed to take place before the Sallah holiday, but I think one or two things have come up that I don’t think I can explain, but I want you to be comfortable that something is being done, following that marching order”, he said.
On the clash between Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, and the military, the NSA said he would get a better briefing after the meeting of the National Security Council with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“Just like you have seen things on the social media here, again I don’t know the final details of what happened, but I know that the governor will meet with Mr President to discuss whatever led to the incident and the debacle. What I know, however, is that in another 30 minutes from now (yesterday), we are going to have a virtual meeting with the Governors’ Forum.
“My name sake has already told me that he’s coming for the meeting, it’s only after that meeting that I can really be able to understand the nitty gritty of what happened, but like you said, it’s unfortunate and I believe we’ll get over this issue”.
Gen. Monguno accused criminals of being driven by drugs: “These drugs basically are condone, opiums, cocaine, tramadol and pertamines and of course cannabis sativa. The popular drug of choice is tramadol, it is easily acquired. Tramadol has been the drug of choice for terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. And if we don’t tackle this we are going to be immersed great problem by virtue of the fact that he who resides in the town, urban or rural area must be able to collaborate with agents of government in revealing these abnormalities.
“The second issue of course is also tied intrinsically to that situation of banditry in the northwest and north central zones, where you have a lot of illegal aliens working just like what you see in the mining sector, illegal miners working with bandits and kidnappers. Of course there are also other issues of fully equipping the security agencies” he explained.