From Molly Kilete, Abuja
Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi has raised the alarm that Nigeria is in a critical situation following resurgence and incessant attacks by terrorists, bandits and other criminal groups across the nation.
He called for support and collaboration of the public and critical stakeholders to secure the country.
The minister spoke at a one-day National Defence and Security Summit with the theme: “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria” organised to brainstorm on ways tackle the menace of terrorism and insurgency ravaging some part of the country.
The event held at the National Defence College (NDC) was attended by former service chiefs, former Inspectors General of Police (IGP), serving service chiefs, the National Security Advisers, ministers, security experts, traditional rulers among other top dignitaries.
Declaring the summit open, Magashi said government would continue to work hard to restore stability in the country by exploring all possible approaches.
“We are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task. This is important to minimise distractions and maximise civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.
“This summit is coming at a sobering time in the life of our dear nation; a time when merchants of violence are threatening to tear the very foundations of our nation; a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all sub-national entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern.
“Physical insecurity in Nigeria unexpectedly has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security. Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development and social inequalities. Others are food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation. These indicate the multi-dimensional nature of national insecurity.
“In view of these realities, the Federal Government has over the years applied a multi-lateral approach with our contiguous neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts domestically. In Southern Nigeria, the security approach include, but not limited to the convening of various stakeholder dialogues in the Niger Delta; mounting of single-service, joint and special task forces; establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta; declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant Niger Delta militants; proscription of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); and the establishment of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre Zone E in the Gulf of Guinea.”
In his address, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Iraboh, assured that the armed forces were committed to ensuring the return of peace to different parts of the country being confronted by insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of security challenge.
Irabor said defence and security were universally considered as common but existential values that affect the entire nation.
He said the summit would seek to discuss how to promote kinetic operations by leaders and eminent personalities in the Nigerian society who would contribute their narratives towards addressing the security challenges.
According to him, it is no longer news that the nation experiences a wide range of national security threats including terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflict, ethno-religious conflicts, kidnapping and banditry.
He said the threats had posed immediate and present danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of the nation.
The CDS said the military had restrategised to implement the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari for action to immediately stabilise the situation.
“Our strategic objectives are manifold and imbued to neutralise non-state-actors and other agents of violence in our communities, forests and countryside to stabilise the security situation across the nation, to facilitate law and order; and lastly to provide the enabling environment far peace and development.
“These presuppose that the military would need support from other security agencies during the operations and would be required to give support to others at different stages of the internal security effort,” he said.