Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ahead of his inauguration for a second term in office, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with the service chiefs and reviewed the security situation in the country.
He also ordered the service chiefs to halt the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the country.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who briefed State House correspondents, said that President Buhari directed them to ensure that they blocked the gaps and ensured other areas of concern were addressed.
Ibas said: “I’m sure you will recall we met just about two weeks ago but the president had to call for this meeting given that tomorrow he will be his swearing-in day. Of course, basically the meeting was to further reappraise the actions taken after the last meeting.
“You all recall too, the spate of insecurity particularly armed banditry, kidnapping and robbery had been specifically on the increase in some parts of the country.
“The briefings were to the effect that we had better responses from the military and security agencies in those areas that we have earlier mentioned. This is particularly because of the improved synergy amongst the various agencies that are providing information and intelligence.
“Furthermore, we have also had members of the public voluntarily offer information in the areas of security challenges.
“I think on the whole, Mr. President was happy with the security situation, the efforts that the armed forces and the security agencies are making to tackle the security challenges.
“Another area of concern was the arms inflow into the nation. It is only God perhaps that can police such an expanse of border that we have.
“That is an area that Mr. President has directed that we do all that we can to ensure that we block the gaps and address security challenges we also need to address.”
The solution of course, is to identify other means and strategies of addressing the porous border. The military of course, has the responsibility to defend the country, but there are other agencies of government that are responsible for manning the various borders. An option perhaps is air surveillance and other things are being considered.”
When he was asked whether the meeting was also valedictory one, Ibas said: “Valedictory? I’m not too sure. But I do know that the inauguration of Mr. President is tomorrow.”
On inauguration proper, the naval chief said: “The committee that was inaugurated to handle that has given its brief and I think its members are prepared.
“They have a sub-committee that is responsible for security as well.”
The meeting was attended by the outgoing Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali and Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau.
Other service chiefs present included the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar, and the Director General of Department for State Service (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari were also in attendance.