•Money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Katsina charged the military to eliminate bandits terrorising the country and promptly restore peace to all states troubled by criminals “that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.” Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the president gave the charge while addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji,” at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport.
The statement said the president promised to channel money saved from drops in food imports occasioned by successes in his government’s agricultural development programme into arms procurement for antiterrorism operations.
Buhari reminded the officers that their fundamental responsibility was to secure the country by relentlessly going after the criminals and eradicating them, pointing out that Nigeria deserves peace.
The president was quoted as saying, “This group was formed by the military to secure the geo-political zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them.
“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations.”
The statement said the president, who was flanked by Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, assured the troops that the federal government would provide the necessary support for the restoration of peace in the country.
“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with dispatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,” he was quoted as saying.
The statement also said Buhari told the troops that the government and its personnel were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, insisting that they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property. It further said Buhari charged the officers to quickly overrun the criminals so that they could re-unite with their families.
“Please, give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,” Buhari said.