Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, resolved to seek the cooperation of states and local government areas in a bid to find a solution to insecurity in the country.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno, made the disclosure when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the National Security Council in Abuja.
The meeting of the highest security body in the country chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari came a day after the Senate and the House of Representatives, at separate plenaries, decried the parlous situation amid calls for the removal of the service chiefs due to the ongoing security challenges across Nigeria.
Asked to give a general assessment of security situation and judge whether it was stable or critical, the NSA replied: “The security situation is like a graph, sometimes it goes up, sometimes it comes down, and that is why we have to assess it periodically. It will never remain on the same level till we bring the whole situation to an end.
“Sometimes, it could escalate, sometimes, it would go down. So, there is no perfect answer to that. If I tell you that it has improved, as we walk out of this place, something might happen, there might be an explosion somewhere. These are things that are not predictable; these are things that you cannot actually determine. That is the nature of this type of conflict we are facing.”
On whether the call for service chiefs’ resignation featured on the agenda of the meeting, the NSA said: “The meeting basically made an appraisal of the current security situation in the country and took a look at the possibilities, the opportunities available to government in addressing most of the recent challenges.
“There were discussions and, at the end of the day, the most important thing that we came up with was the need to for collaboration both between governmental agencies and the larger Nigerian society, because of the type of the insurgencies we are faced with, the complexities, the multiplicity of all kinds of issues.
“There is a need for both parties, governmental agencies on one hand and the larger society, to collaborate more vigorously.
“There is a need for us to deal with these problems in a comprehensive manner.
“Therefore, council has decided to take a closer look at issues that will help us, not just at the federal level or at the state level, but right down to the local government level. But this is going to be done after due consultations with the relevant stakeholders.”
Asked to give the specifics of the collaboration, he said: “The issue of collaboration, it’s not something that I can disclose right now.
“We just concluded the meeting and we have to look at the issues before coming out with whatever decision.
“For collaboration, I want to think that everybody understands the need for a whole government approach in collaborating with the whole of society approach to achieve a lot.
“This situation requires everybody in the country to work together to deal with these challenges. So, where there are gaps we need to close these gaps. That is what I mean by collaboration.”
He said the resolution passed by the House of Representatives asking Mr. President to relieve the service chiefs of their appointments was not discussed at the meeting.
‘Buhari aware of security challenge’
Meanhile, the Presidency condemned when it described as “mischievous twisting of President Buhari’s comments on insecurity’’ by some traditional and social media outfits in the country.
The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, made the condemnation in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.
He said it was wrong for anyone to postulate that the Nigerian leader was unaware of the security challenges facing the country.
The statement read in part: “It has become compelling to react to a mischievous slant being given by both the traditional and social media to the comments of President Muhammadu Buhari on the security challenges in some parts of the country.
“On Monday, while hosting Eminent and Respected Citizens of Niger State at State House, Abuja, the President had said: ‘I was taken aback by what is happening in the North-West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion, rather it is one evil plan against the country. We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly.’”
Adesina observed that the reportage of the statement above was slanted to mean that President Buhari said he was unaware of the security challenges in some parts of the country.
“Far from it, except to the mischievous mind. The President is fully aware and fully in charge of all that is going on.”