President Muhammadu Buhari is considering taking ‘profound measures’ to tackle the surge in banditry and similar criminal activities across the country following an emergency meeting with security top brass in Abuja on Friday.
The meeting which had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno and the service chiefs will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss the worsening insecurity.
The meeting came on a day Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) reported that 4,556 persons were violently killed and 2,860 were kidnapped in 2020 alone in Nigeria while the Kaduna State Government said bandits operating in the state killed a total of 323 residents and kidnapped 949 others in the last three months.
The police hierarchy has named Mr. Christopher Owolabi as the new Commissioner of Police (CP) of Anambra State as the first step in re-ordering, overhauling and strengthening the security and policing architecture in the South-East and South-South.
The United Kingdom says it is also concerned by the situation in Nigeria with its Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, stressing that the stability of Nigeria matters a lot to his country.
National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, in a statement at the end of yesterday’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the Buhari administration was prepared to do whatever is required to free the country from the current debilitating security crisis.
Monguno said yesterday’s meeting came about because of the President’s concern about “the persisting security challenges in parts of the country” and his determination to “frontally confront the situation.”
He said: “At today’s (yesterday’s) meeting, the President made it abundantly clear that while the insurgents, bandits and criminals are still at it, he has no doubt that the Nigerian security agencies and all of us as a nation will certainly overcome all the current security problems and defeat the forces of evil marauding about in different parts of the country.
“While the criminals continue to test the will of the Nigerian government, the President and the Council, which adjourned today’s critical meeting until Tuesday morning to receive further briefings from the Security Chiefs, are set and determined to decisively end the assault on the nation and will do all that it takes.
“Mr. President is very prepared to take profound measures in the wider interest of the people and the Nigerian nation. There shall be no relenting until peace and security is significantly restored in our communities.”
Also at the meeting were Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Ishiaka Amoo;acting Police Inspector-General Usman Alkali Baba; Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Samuel Adebayo.
The President had come under severe pressure from various stakeholders including the National Assembly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other Nigerians to take urgent and drastic action to deal with the security challenges, especially kidnapping, killing, arson and agitations for secession.