Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The nation’s security chiefs have demanded that the Federal Government provide more equipment for the Armed Forces in order to sustain the tempo in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges across the country.
The demand was made at the National Security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
The National Economic Council (NEC), at its meeting in Abuja, last December, had resolved that $1 billion be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to boost the fight against insurgency by the military.
The proposal to withdraw the $1 billion from the ECA account was flayed by some Nigerians who argued that only the National Assembly could make appropriations to the security agencies.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State had, at the last NEC meeting, revealed that the $1 billion was yet to be released.
In a statement signed by Public Relations officer, Tukur Gusau and handed out to State House Correspondents at the end of the almost five hours meeting, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali said, in order to forestall future security incidences in Zamfara, Sokoto and Birnin-Gwari axis, Operation SHARAN DAJI has been extended to cover up to the fringes of Niger Republic border.
“The operation has recently been reinforced witlh more troops from the Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigeria Police and Department of State Services and is supported by the Intelligence, Surveillance and Recognisance Wing of 207 Quick Response Group of the Nigerian Air Force.
“The joint operation has successfully arrested some suspected armed bandits and recovered arms and ammunition.
“Similarly, in other to checkmate the criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highway, security agencies have been directed to increase patrols along the axis to address cases of attacks and kidnappings,” he said.
Dan-Ali also briefed on the security situation in the Niger Delta, saying that “Operation DELTA SAFE has sustained its operations against illegal activities in the Niger Delta region with resultant reduction in illegal oil bunkering, militancy and pipeline vandalism.”
He said the meeting also reviewed Operation SAFE HAVEN leading to appointment of a new Commander in the North Central.
He reiterated the need for the deployment of the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in all areas liberated by the military in the North-East in order to consolidate on the gains of military operations as well as to enable the military push forward in its clearance operations.
Those in attendance were National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique; Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Department for State Services, Lawan Daura.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, was also in attendance.