From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The National Security Council is developing new strategies to combat the country’s worsening insecurity, even as it observes that Nigerians are tired and turning to self-help.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), stated this, yesterday, when he briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The NSA, who was joined by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali, admitted that the country is in a difficult situation, saying the president is aware of the people’s concerns about the growing insecurity.
He said the Security Council has agreed on new strategies to combat the threat.
Monguno also revealed that Council is in the process of winding up special investigation on Kuje Correctional Centre attack with a view to holding those found negligent accountable for their actions.
He said: “Today’s meeting was convened by the President, as a continuation of the meeting that took place last week to discuss the technical issues and the taskings that were given to the various security agencies.
“The meeting deliberated on all those issues, after the brief by the National Security Adviser, which is usually the procedure. Again, council deemed it necessary to inform the general public, that fighting this type of asymmetric conflict is a collective effort. It’s not something that should be confined to only the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
“When we keep saying whole of society approach, whole of government approach to get a whole of nation approach, what it means is that everybody has to partake in this enterprise. The truth is that no country can ever overcome the difficulties of an asymmetric conflict by virtue of the fact that the enemy of the state is embedded within the population within the wider society.
“It is true that the local people are averse, they’re scared, they’re worried and there’s no confidence. That is understandable. But without their support, without the cooperation in terms of giving information, it makes it very hard for the operational elements.
“A few days ago, troops of the guards brigade were ambushed and decimated. Had there been a collective effort by way of just snippets of information we might have averted that incident, that is not to say that the responsibility is for those outside the security domain. It’s a collective responsibility.
“Furthermore, council is also concerned about the nature of media reporting incidents with regards to insecurity. It is important for the media to understand that certain reports being generated by the media, either the way the manner in which they report can also aggravate this delicate situation.
“So, Council is urging the media to be very careful in whatever it reports, whatever gets out to the public space, can have a debilitating effect on the population.
“Equally, the political elite is also urged to take into account the consequences of utterances, especially from people who have established a reputation, people who are considered leaders of thought, people who are considered to have some kind of influence in society, whatever goes out may be harmful not just to the government, if that is the intention, which I doubt may not be a deliberate thing, but at the end of the day, it will affect the wider society.
“We are in a very difficult situation. And Council understands. Mr. President understands people’s concerns about the growing insecurity. But I can assure you that there’s no straight cut and dried method of dealing with this thing unless all of us embrace each other.
“I know people are weary, people are tired people are beginning to gravitate to other places for self help. The truth is that help is rooted in everyone working for the other person.
“Again, the members of the armed forces have also made a commitment that in the coming weeks, they have already started working on a new strategy to deal with these snippets of violence. And they’ve given their word, their commitment to the President, that there will be a change in momentum, regardless of the fact that there might be certain institutional limitations which they face. But they understood the enormity of the responsibilities that they have.
“Again, Council is in the process of winding up the special investigative panel on the Kuje incident. And the idea is to come up with recommendations, hold those who are supposed to be held accountable for their deeds and to ensure that this type of thing never ever, ever happens again in this country. So, that in a nutshell, was what Council deliberated on.”
The NSA did not entertain questions after the briefing which was done in front of the council chambers.