President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the military and all security agencies in the country to rejig their strategies in order to address security challenges confronting some parts of the country.
The President gave the directive on Tuesday, at the National Security Council meeting held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents on decisions reached at the meeting chaired by President Buhari.
He also revealed that the administration was working on a solution to the security crisis in some parts of the country, saying that the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd), was “working on something” to give effect to President Buhari’s earlier marching orders to service chiefs.
He further noted that President Buhari is not oblivious of the fact that security developments in the last few years had made many lose confidence in the security system, assuring that the President is determined to restore the lost confidence.
“Mr. President has also directed we must rejig 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.
“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.
“What he 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 fulfill 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”, Monguno said.
The NSA also disclosed that the council noted that proliferation of drugs is driving insecurity in the country.
Monguno said the manner of killings of their victims can only mean one thing, which the bandits, kidnappers and terrorists are out of their minds.
“On the issues of drug trafficking and abuse of drugs, basically, what I told council was that this has taken on a worrisome dimension. Nigeria’s perception on the drug trafficking index has changed from the status from a transits hub to a production center.
“Between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of metal and metulin substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed. That is a large number. At the same we have had increasing activities of illegal cultivators of cannabis in Nigeria.
“You have a minimum of three parties operating at the same time, the drug peddler (the supper fly), the consumer (the junkie) and that person in the center who has been entrusted with denying these drugs access into the country. It is important to note that if there is a compromise then things become tedious and problematic.
“If you look at the criminality, the colouration of each crime, especially kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, it is not the killing of the people but the way people are killed, goes to show one thing. It is extremely abnormal, inhuman and these acts can only be perpetrated by people who are out of their mind.
One thing we in the security and intelligence arm have been able to trace, is that there are certain drugs of choice that have saturated the entire landscape of the country.
“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 approach 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.
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 recent altercation between the Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, and the military, the NSA said he would get a better briefing after the meeting of the National Security Council and 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, 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,” he explained.