Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has again assured that he will not let the nation down in the fight against security in the country.
He has also promised to increase the frequency of his meetings with security chiefs and to keep him updated.
This is even as Northern governors took their concerns about uncontrollable security challenges in the region to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking at a meeting with the Northern Governors Forum, NGF, led by the outgoing Chairman, Kashim Shettima of Borno State at the State House, Buhari said: “The security of the country is on my mind 24 hours of the day. I get daily and weekly situation reports. I have listened to your brief. I will look into your recommendations. I am acutely aware of the situation, but I have learnt more today.”
He bemoaned the ravaging effect of unchecked corruption in the past on the country’s Armed Forces, saying: “The terrible effects of mismanagement were prevalent, and these are the consequences.”
According to him, “If you follow the efforts we are making within the system, you will see that we have curbed much of the corruption that is there. See the recoveries that we have made – money, landed property. We are not going as fast as we want under the system, but we will keep trying to improve it.”
He also expressed interest in getting reports from governors who have difficult relationships with security heads in their States.
In their presentations, the governors drew the President’s attention to specific challenges they each faced in their respective States.
They commended the Federal Government’s efforts in curbing Boko Haram terrorism and farmers/herders clashes, which they said had been dealt with.
While noting that normalcy had virtually returned to the North-East, the governors however, warned that armed banditry was posing a dangerous threat and needed to be tackled with equal swiftness.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the closed door meeting, the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, said they were very worried about the Boko Haram menace in the Northeast, the banditry in the Northwest and the kidnappings in the Northcentral, and came to seek presidential intervention.
He said the Governors offered suggestions on how to tackle the problems, and that Buhari gave his word and commitment that something will be done by the Federal Government to assist the States check them.
Masari, citing security reasons declined to give the specific suggestions the governors offered, stating that the President has pledged to assist, insisting that the details are not for public consumption yet.
The Katsina governor said: “The issue that brought us to the President is about the rising insecurity in the north west, north central and Northeast. Northeast is known for Boko Haram insurgency but of recent what was known to be cattle rustling in Northwest and some parts of North central has turned out to be something different from what we had before.
“So, this concern made us to come and brief the President so that urgent action would be taken in order to curb this deadly menace of banditry which is gradually graduating into insurgency. You know the Northwest with a vast forest area going to North central and then even going out of Nigeria.
“So we need to act quickly and decisively so that it doesn’t turn into something else like what we had in the northeast”.
Asked about the update on the kidnapped district head of Buhari’s home town, Daura, in Katsina State, Masari said the police was making progress to secure his release and apprehend the abductors, but the details would equally not be made public for now.
Governors in attendance were; Kashim Shettima (Borno), Simon Lalong (Plateau),Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Bello Masari (Katisna) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto).
Others were Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara).