From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies.
He gave the charge in Abuja, yesterday, during a meeting with 36 state governors on the issue of security.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, who listened to presentations from the representative of each of the six geo-political zones on their specific security challenges, recalled that in the old order, communities identified new comers and passed information to constituted authority.
“The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals. Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering.”
Giving an overview of the security situation in each of the zones, the president said his administration had done well in the North East and South South, adding that the South South situation was still worrisome.
“Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations.”
On the issue of banditry and kidnapping reported in each of the geo-political zones, President Buhari said: “Security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.”
The president explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons and drugs.
“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.”
President Buhari gave assurances that the country’s military will continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.
On the issues raised on EndSARS protest and its hijack by hoodlums to cause mayhem and destroy private and public property, Buhari again gave a strong warning about reoccurrence, saying no responsible government will allow that to happen.
“We do not stop anyone from demonstrating but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that?”
President Buhari said the foreign press coverage of the EndSARS violence was not balanced, citing specifically the CNN and BBC, for omitting the number of policemen killed, police stations that were razed, and the prisons that were thrown open for inmates to escape.
On the eight-month long strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, the president said lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country.