The Federal Government has disclosed that plans have been concluded to intensify the crackdown on bandits, other terrorists, and sponsors of terrorism across the country.
Aside from intensifying the crackdown, the apex government said that more would be done in identifying masterminds of banditry and kidnapping as well as the sponsors with a view to taking them out.
The National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd.), said that in achieving the aim, President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed the nation’s service chiefs to lead the operations in identifying masterminds of banditry, kidnapping, and other terrorist activities.
Briefing State House correspondents on Tuesday, Monguno said that Buhari handed down the directive at a meeting he had with the service chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He added that Buhari told the security heads that he would henceforth refuse to accept the nation’s security being reactionary instead of being proactive.
According to him, Buhari also insisted that all the decisions approved at the National Security Council meeting last month including a ban on mining activities in Zamfara as well as no-fly zone remained enforced until further notice to curb the rising insecurity in the state.
“After meetings with governors of the Northwest and North-central zones, Mr. President decided to call for an emergency meeting with heads of defence and security organisations. Prior to this meeting, he had also met with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum on issues directly linked to the state of insecurity in the nation. Today’s meeting was not a very long meetings, but the President looks at certain issues that were presented to him in the last one week.
“Mr. President, in particular, emphasised that the comprehensive reports he has received from the Chief of Defense Staff and the service chiefs, following their recent appointment, has illuminated the need for him to look deeper into certain aspects that need to be taken care of. He is particularly inspired and impressed by the way the new service chiefs have started their assignment, with all the operational visits they’ve made to the theatre, where they’ve been able to address the troops, look into their immediate needs and come up with immediate, medium and long term proposals.
“Mr. President is going to look into these things with the urgency they require, but he is particularly delighted that from what he has received from the Chief of Defence Staff, there is now a renewed vigour, there is now a willingness on the part of all the operational elements to work together, as well as also working hand in hand with the intelligence organisations.
Continuing, he added, “on the issue of kidnapping and banditry, this menace still persists, especially in the Northwest and the North-Central zones. Mr. President has been very emphatic, he has stated very clearly that this problem must be brought to an end, but using the traditional methods that the armed forces have been trained to deploy.
“Mr. President has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that the first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits, kidnappers and take them out, in order to restore confidence in those areas.
”Mr. President has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation whereby bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tone and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reactionary rather than being proactive. Willingness to provide funds
“He has also indicated his willingness to provide all the resources required by our own troops in order to put down these criminals. They must be brought down with all the ruthlessness that is required and whoever is working in collaboration with them will be brought to book.
“He has also declared that there will be no adjustment in whatever the National Security Council has already laid out until normalcy is restored. Elements working with Kidnappers
“He is also aware of attempts by certain elements, working in cahoots with all kinds of people in and out of the country to continue with exploiting the minefields, especially In Zamfara State.
“A ban has been placed on mining and that ban has to be enforced, people have to comply with whatever the President has laid out.
“Of course, we, in the intelligence domain, are aware that there are individuals and groups who are planning to link up with all kinds of non-state actors in order to frustrate the efforts of government in implementing the ban on mining, as well as enforcing the no-fly-zone so that no rotary aircraft will land, drop whatever and pick up whatever. That has to be enforced.”