Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ezeh, Okwe Obi, Abuja and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Following his dissatisfaction with the worsening insecurity in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has again challenged the nation security agencies to rejig their strategies in the ongoing battle against insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in some parts of the country.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Mongonu (retd), revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the National Security Council meeting, presided over by President Buhari at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
The president, according to the NSA, reaffirmed his last marching orders to the nation’s security chiefs that their best effort was not good enough.
Monguno revealed that since the issues involved were operational issues, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, “is working on something” likely to give a new direction to the security agencies.
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 could only mean one thing, that the bandits, kidnappers and terrorists are out of their minds.
He said President Buhari noted that Nigerians have lost confidence in the security sector and in he is determined to restore that confidence.
The NSA said his office presented a memo to the Security Council on the danger of drug abuse in the society as well as the need to urgently address the problem
He revealed that between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed while an increasing activities of illegal cultivators of `Canabis’ were also recorded.
He said criminals had resulted to the use of illegal substances and dangerous drugs like Tramadol to unleash violence on innocent citizens in the society.
“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 transit hub to a production centre.
“Between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of dangerous 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 Canabis in Nigeria.
“These people basically use extremely large space of arable land to cultivate this illegal substance, employing militia men to protect their farms and also their storage facilities.
“When you look at drugs, our main concern as security operatives is the ultimate destruction to the social fabric and economy of the nation.
“There is hardly any violence crime today in Nigeria that is not propelled by the use of these hard substances. And these hard substances have been coming in from all nooks and crannies,’’ he said.
Monguno believed that the reckless use of these dangerous substances had direct link to the insecurity being experienced across the country.
He, therefore, stressed the need for a collective, concerted effort to deal with the menace of dangerous drugs in circulation to safeguard the country from the bottomless pit of self-destruction.
The NSA boss disclosed that he later updated the Council on the security situation in the northwest and the north central, “in terms of looking at the issue of kidnapping, banditry and killing of innocent people.’’
“The Chief of Defence Staff, army chief, inspector general of Police, heads of the various intelligence agencies also gave synopsis each of the current security situation and what their various organizations and agencies are doing about these situations,’’ he said.
This is as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), registered their displeasure with the state of security, particularly the recent activities that led to loss of hundreds of lives.
Speaking under the platform the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), leaders of both faiths challenged Federal Government to quickly change its approach to issue of the rise in insecurity to avoid unfriendly reactions of Nigerians.
They condemned the terrorists’ attacks on innocent citizens in the north east part of Nigeria, and the various criminal activities in the various parts of the country, registering its concerns that the threats and killings are fast spreading across other parts of the country.
They particularly asked the security agents to mop up arms and ammunition in wrong hands, particularly criminals, and ensure a complete stop to the proliferation of all forms of arms and light weapons being used by criminals to terrorise and destroy lives and property.
Co-chairmen of NIREC, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of NSCIA, Sa’ad Abubakar and CAN President, Rev. Sampson Ayokunle, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, by the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua, said they were constrained to call on government to provide security for the Nigerians.
They made reference to a recent statement credited to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, during his Sallah homage to the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, in which he said people of Borno were no longer safe due to increasing activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
He appealed that Maiduguri, in particular, should not be allowed to be run over by insurgents who have been throwing mortals, killing people, which is a pointer to the sorry state of security in the state and beyond.
The religious leaders reminded the government that over the past few days, over 76 people have been killed in Sabon Birni Local Government of Sokoto State; RuwanTofa Dansadua district in Zamfara State; Zagon Kataf Local Government Area in Kaduna State; Bethel Baptist Church Aguda-Dauruwan, Kogi State, and the attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor in Baga.
NIREC challenged security agents to fish out the criminals so they can face justice. In addition to that, they must mop up arms and ammunitions in wrong hands, particularly criminals and ensure a complete stop to the proliferation of all forms of weapons that criminals use to destroy lives and property.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Bendel Province of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Dr. Cyril Odutemu has said it would be difficult for Nigeria to win the war against insurgency with the current security architecture.
Odutemu said the nation’s security architecture cannot address the incessant killings and displacement of innocent Nigerians by rampaging Fulani herdsmen and bandits.
He, therefore, suggested that the security architecture be restructured in such a way that members of the armed forces and the police are deployed to their areas of origin.