By ABDULLLAHI YAKUBU, Kano
As part of a multi-pronged strategy to address the prevailing insecurity in the country, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Service Chiefs will tomorrow embark on a nationwide tour across the six geopolitical zones plans.
They are billed to hold town hall meetings on the security of the nation with state governors, traditional and religious leaders, members of the legislature as well as non-governmental, youth and women organisations in each of the zones.
Experts had in the past suggested that military force alone might not end the war on terror, kidnapping and banditry across the country.
A statement from the Office of the NSA yesterday said Monguno would lead a delegation of heads of federal law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to the six geo-political zones of the country from Monday.
It added that the meetings would provide a direct assessment of the security situation, generate local feedback and recommendations, encourage geo-political synchronisation of efforts among states and create a pathway to lasting peace and security.
“The first of the town halls is scheduled to be held in Kaduna State on Monday, February 15, 2021 with all seven governors of the North-west states.
“The federal government is deeply concerned about the current spate of criminal activities and is taking major steps to strengthen the capacity of security agencies while upgrading the security architecture and implementing a multi-pronged strategy that involves political, humanitarian, economic and security measures,” the statement reads in part.
The NSA stated that the federal government was committed to working with the states and community leaders to strengthen peace, security and development in all parts of the country.
According to the statement, the NSA believes addressing the security threats calls for the deployment of all national assets, including the cooperation of all Nigerians.
It noted that Monguno had convened a meeting of the General Security Appraisal Committee (GSAC) which was attended by the nation’s service chiefs and heads of law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies on Thursday.
The meeting, which discussed the threats of kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, armed robbery and their resultant consequences on lives and property, was in furtherance of the government’s commitment to address multiple security threats facing Nigeria.
As part of renewed commitment to making Nigeria safe and secure, the meeting resolved to strengthen inter-agency coordination, stakeholders’ engagement and consultation in order to find a lasting solution to the multiple security threats.
“Working with the service chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies, the National Security Adviser is coordinating a Whole-of-Government and Whole-of Society approach that cuts across the legislature, judiciary, ministries and departments, states, local governments and the civil society to ensure that every stakeholders a role in securing our towns and villages,” the statement added.
Governors Have Crucial Role Play In War Against Banditry, Kidnapping, Others – Defence Minister
Meanwhile, minister of Defence, General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), has said governors have a critical role to play in addressing the insecurity across the county.
Magashi spoke yesterday when he revalidated his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State.
The minister warned those beating drums of war and anarchy of the military’s readiness to deal decisively with such elements.
He said the security agencies do not exist to serve a particular group of people but the entire Nigerians.
“I am the Minister of Defence and the defence of this country is entirely my responsibility. We have the mandate to ensure that the lives and property of people are protected,” he said.
He said since 2015, the military had been making progress, adding that the present administration came when almost 20 local government areas in the North East were under siege by Boko Haram terrorists.
“To be honest, the role of the armed forces and other security agencies is really very encouraging, and we implore Nigerians to encourage us to do more.
“But if you are only waiting for success, nobody can predict anything, especially with the kind of war we are fighting. The new concept of everything is not so conventional as to predict that you can beat the enemy at your own pace.
“The only way a conventional warfare is fought is for you to know the strength of your enemy, his weaknesses and compare with what you have then you can certainly predict that you can win the war or not but the most important thing is the ability of the people that you are fighting for to appreciate the effort that the military is putting in and give them all the encouragement,” he said.
The minister added: “Today, everybody seems to rely on successes, not making a corresponding interest to assist the military but I think Nigerians are getting it better.
“They know that the military cannot do it alone, and they are doing all their best to see that they assist us in whatever manner-intellectually, materially and anything that will make us get out of this thing, especially, in intelligence.”
While calling for citizens’ support, he said, “We want to know what these people are up to, we want to know what they are doing so that we can now predict where to hit them hard and get them sought out and the success the country is requiring.”
“But certainly, we cannot sit down and allow people to be talking the way they want to. Let them do their own obligation to the people. Let all the governors do their own obligations. They have so many things they can do to stop this banditry and other security issues. But crying that we should do that or should not do this will not solve the problem. Let everybody go back to his people. Everybody, I mean, all political office holders should go back to their localities and see what is happening there. There is poverty, there is neglect, there are no schools, no healthcare centres, nothing!
“So, if they can concentrate on that alone, I think the nation will be better off. But, certainly, I admire the governors saying their voices, but we will all analyze it and we will be able to come up with their ideas so that the federal government will remain neutral on every issue that will divide this country. We will not have agents that will divide this country. Certainly, it will not come from President Buhari.”
He reminded Nigerians that the basic responsibility of government is to protect every Nigerian wherever they are.
“We always believe that given the necessary intelligence, no agent of government will sit down and fold its hands without doing something,” he said.
Speaking on the ENDSARS protests, he said the government had put in place necessary structures to avert destruction of lives and property.
“If #EndSARS is to take place today, we will ensure that we have peaceful counter plans that we will be put in place to ensure that mistakes are not made in protecting the people.
“You know the composition of the EndSARS crowd. Over 60 percent of them are people who don’t even know why they are there. They just come to take part, some of them are rogues, and some are there to steal. They want to do whatever they think, the actual people are few.
“To the genuine ones, we want to get them enlightened. They should stop doing things that will create collateral damages for the country. We need people who will seat down and use their brain, sit down with the government and see what we can do.
“Whoever is involved in this EndSARS issue, the military and the government will not allow it to happen, but we will be as good as any other citizen to protect this country. We are not going to be harsh on anybody; we will maintain the law and peace to the best of our ability. We can use force when it is required, when you use force, we don’t say you will go and start killing people. We can use minimum force commensurate with what is seen on the ground and that is where some people are getting it wrong.
“We cannot sit down and then you shoot at somebody and we allow you to go because somebody thinks that you are one that can kill and go away. Please give us time, in this country, we are in a state where we want everybody to look up and see what he can do for this country, not what the country can do for you.”