From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the nation’s security chiefs to identify bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors and crush them.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), who briefed journalists at the end of meeting with security chiefs, quoted Buhari as saying a situation where armed forces were reactionary rather than proactive would no longer be tolerated.
The NSA said President Buhari insisted that all decisions approved at the National Security Council meeting last month, including ban on mining activities in Zamfara as well as no-fly-zone remain in forced as part as measures to curb rising insecurity in the state.
The president also commended the renewed vigour injected into the armed forces by the service chiefs and willingness by all operational elements to work together as well as working hand-in-hand with intelligence organisations.
The NSA, who did not take questions after briefing the press said: “On issues of kidnapping and banditry – these menaces still persist especially in the North West and the North Central zones.
“Mr President has stated very clearly that this problem must be brought an end but using the traditional that the armed forces have been trained to deploy.
“Mr President has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that their first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits and kidnappers and take them out in order to restore confidence in those areas.
“Mr President has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation where bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tones and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reaction rather than being proactive,’’ he said.
The NSA also revealed that the president had directed the service chiefs, the intelligence community as well as the constabulary forces to target those agents of disunity across the country.
He said such people had been creating chaos, disunity and disharmony among peace-loving citizens.
“I’m also to send out a warning to those people who think they can continue to behave in a manner that undermines national security. Those people engaging in all kinds of underhanded, unscrupulous, mischievous and deceitful practices, people who are working with those that are in government, in particular, critical agencies of government.
“We have been able to identify certain areas that are weak and these areas have to be strengthened so that these characters who are engaging in acts that you can describe as outright acts of brigandage, people who are behaving in a manner that portends a lot of danger to innocent lives, have to be fished out.
“This is the directive from the President, I am to send a warning to those people who think they’re in close proximity with those who have the instruments to make the space easy for criminals, those people who think they have some kind of authority, who are engaging in all kinds of Hocus Pocus in all kinds of jiggery pokery or skullduggery.
“These people will be brought down to their knees.’’
The meeting was attended by VicePresident Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lieut.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Navy Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao. Others were the National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’s and the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu.