Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Molly Kilete, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his order to security chiefs to rout bandits terrorising Zamfara State and its environs. He also charged them to tackle cases of kidnapping and other security challenges across the country.
He gave the order at a two-hour closed-door meeting with service chiefs and other heads of security agencies at the Presidential villa, Abuja, yesterday.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin told State House Correspondents that the meeting reviewed and revised the security strategy in order to address security challenges confronting the country.
“The security meeting we just had with Mr. President today (Thursday) is to review the strategy we are adopting in confronting security issues in Zamfara State especially, and other places nationwide. This review strategy is to address all issues including kidnapping, banditry and other associated issues confronting the nation and we are coming out with a revised strategy to handle those challenges,” the CDS said.
Asked if they were given marching order over the increasing wave of insecurity in the country, Olonisakin said: “Yeah, the marching order is for us to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues bordering on our security are properly addressed.”
Barely 24 hours earlier, Buhari had handed a marching order to security agencies to smoke out bandit from their various hideout across country.
“You must locate and smoke them out wherever they exist,” he said, yesterday.
The president who spoke through the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at Batsari, Katsina State, described activities of bandits operating in various parts of the country, especially in the north, as a challenge to the Federal Government.
He told members of a special task force at the Divisional Police headquarters, Batsari: “I want you to take the fight to their abode and smoke them out.”
Prior to that, Federal Government had on Sunday ordered immediate suspension of mining activities in Zamfara State and its environs.
It also ordered foreigners to quit mining sites in the state, alleging that a link between the bandits and illicit miners has been established.
Meanwhile, police boss, Adamu, said yesterday that the Abuja/Kaduna road has been cleared and now safe for travels.
According to him, this feat followed a confrontation between security operatives and bandits and kidnappers on the road which left the hoodlums seriously injured and others arrested. “I want to assure Nigerians that Kaduna/Abuja roads are now safe. We have cleared the roads, we have arrested a lot of kidnappers. During confrontation, some were fatally injured. So, the road is cleared. Our patrol teams, the combined security services patrolling the road are constantly there 24 hours.”
Others who attended the meeting were Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete IIbas, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, National Security Adviser, Major Gen. Babagana Monguno, Director General of National Intelligence Agency, the Director General and Department of Security Service. Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dangazzau and the Minister of Defence, Brigadier Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali were also part of the meeting.