•Says undesirable elements frustrating ban on Zamfara mining
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday renewed his order to security chiefs to take out bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors.
The president also reiterated the ban on mining and no-fly zone order on Zamfara State, accusing some “undesirable elements” of flouting the prohibition.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), told reporters yesterday at the end of the National Security Council meeting presided over by Buhari at the State House, Abuja, that the meeting reviewed the nation’s security situation.
The meeting also stressed the need for security agencies to do more to secure the country.
He said it was based on the recent security brief the president got from the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, that he mandated the service chiefs to fish out the kidnappers, bandits and their sponsors.
He said: “The president 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.
“On the issue of kidnapping and banditry, this menace still persists, especially in the North-west 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, by 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.”
Monguno added that the president also directed that the military should henceforth be proactive and not reactionary in its operational activities, adding that the bandits and kidnappers should not be allowed to dictate the pace in fighting security challenges facing the country.
“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.
“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 stated.
According to him, the president from briefings he got from the CDS and the service chiefs was glad that the new service chiefs were taking off on the right footing with a pledge that all the operational requirements for them to perform better would be made available to them.
He said: “Mr. President, in particular, emphasised that the comprehensive reports he had received from the Chief of Defence Staff and the service chiefs, following their recent appointments have 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”.
He stated that Buhari, while expressing concern about some individuals frustrating the ban on mining in Zamfara State, however, affirmed the readiness of the federal government to effectively implement the ban.
“A ban has been placed on mining and that 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,” he added.
Monguno cautioned those undermining the nation’s security to desist forthwith from such acts or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
He said: “I’m also to send out a warning to those people who think they can continue to behave in a manner that undermines national security. Those people engaging in all kinds of underhanded, unscrupulous, mischievous and deceitful practices, people who are working with those that are in government, in particular, critical agencies of government, we have been able to identify certain areas that are weak and these areas have to be strengthened so that these characters who are engaging in acts that you can describe as outright acts of brigandage, people who are behaving in a manner that portends a lot of danger to innocent lives, have to be fished out.
“It is extremely important for these people; I’m sending out a message to them, anybody who thinks he can continue to pool whatever resources he has at his disposal, to frustrate the efforts of the central government in bringing about peace and security will have himself to blame.
“This is the directive from the president. I am to send a warning to those people who think they’re in close proximity with those who have the instruments to make the space easy for criminals, those people who think they have some kind of authority, those people will be brought down to their knees. The new service chiefs, as well as the intelligence community, and the constabulary forces have been given clear directives by the president to target those people who are the ones leading in creating chaos, disunity, and disharmony.”