ABUJA —DISTURBED by the rising wave of insecurity in the country, President Bola Tinubu said, yesterday, he would not rest until all vestiges of darkness such as Boko Haram terrorists, Ansaru militants, bandits and kidnapping gangs were stamped out.
The President’s vow is coming on the heels of the renewed upsurge of terrorist attacks, banditry and kidnapping in different parts of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja
Consequently, President Tinubu also had a meeting with service chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Tinubu who departed Transcorp Hilton, where he attended a book launch on his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, met the service chiefs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa.
Others in attendance at the meeting included the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar and Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
Heads of other security agencies were also at the meeting.
Though the agenda of the meeting was not revealed, Vanguard gathered that it was in connection with the President’s concern over the growing cases of banditry and kidnapping in the nation’s capital and other parts of the country.
Like the president, many stakeholders proffered suggestions on how to combat insecurity, yesterday, with the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, meeting tactical squad and task force commanders, and ordering the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, to co-ordinate up-scaled operations against criminality.
Similarly, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Mr. Nyesom Wike, equally summoned an emergency security council meeting, and read riot acts to area council chairmen, even as he assured Abuja residents that the government was not sleeping and that help was on the way.
This was as Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, decried the resurgence of attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna highway, with Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, tasking the federal government on creation of state police, saying the failure to use BVN and NIN to track terrorists and kidnappers was an indictment on the security agencies.
Also, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, said it would launch vigilance groups to boost the fight against insecurity in Nasarawa State.
Speaking as the special guest of honour at the launch of “Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser Media and Publicity (2015—2023),” a book authored by Femi Adesina and “Muhammadu Buhari: The Nigerian Legacy (2015—2023), a compilation of about one hundred contributors edited by Dr. Udu Yakubu, President Tinubu said he inherited both assets and liabilities from his predecessor.
Describing the gathering as a reunion with his immediate predecessor, Tinubu noted that Buhari left many battles and a bunch of tasks for continuity when he quit power on May 29, 2023. “I told people I inherited the assets and liabilities of my predecessor, no matter what you say,” the President said.
Addressing the former President, Tinubu said: “Welcome to Abuja. Since you passed the baton to me, I’ve seen many of your jokes and I’ve realized it’s not just a walk in the park.
“Let me thank the organizers of today’s book launch for providing me the opportunity and the ambience to reunite with my predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari, since he left office on May 29 2023.
“After handing over, you said ‘I will be far away in Daura but if you need me, contact me’. But I won’t intrude in whatever you are doing. I won’t interfere or breathe down your throat. We’ve partnered to make democracy flourish in Nigeria.
“President Buhari, thank you. Except when I call you to ask how are you living. How are you on the farm? We don’t hear from you either to nominate or intrude in the cabinet or complain about anything. Thank you for being who you are.
“When you left office, you left many battles and a bunch of tasks for me to continue. And I told people I inherited the assets and liabilities of my predecessor no matter what you say.
“We always joke sometimes, and you say you can never please Nigerians but yours is to focus, work hard and satisfy your conscience. You have done that. It is reflected.” President Tinubu noted his predecessor served the country with dedication and uncommon zeal, saying
“I was talking to somebody last night that I will be at this book launch and he said oh, I remember you sold Buhari to us. And I said, stop where you are? I’m not talking to you about a disclaimer. I’m talking to you about a programme that I really appreciated and will continue to appreciate. Being here face-to-face with you is a great documentation of history, candour, integrity and character.”
He said the authors of the books might have done their best, but noted that what Nigeria would gain from the books was what history must do, adding that history was in the books.
‘’I’m glad history has been reintroduced and it is part of the curriculum in various schools and it will be emphasized, I promise you,” he assured.
Continuing, he said: “You (Buhari) assumed office at a very difficult time in our nation’s life. The economy was going into recession. Boko Haram had taken over so many local governments and some parts of our country. It is easy to forget that the United Nations building was attacked here in Abuja.
“It’s easy to forget the role of the armed forces. But if the book is carefully read and taught in terms of substance in our various schools, the job of securing every inch of our nation may not be completed but you did a wonderful job and we will not rest, I promise you, until every agent of darkness is completely eliminated. It’s a sovereign country.”
Tinubu expressed joy over Buhari’s commitment to supporting his administration, stressing that as a real politician and a democrat that he was, he was still dedicated and committed to the All Progressives Congress, APC, which he described as the largest party in Africa.
I Emulated Buhari
“Well, I’ve emulated you. One of those things is non-interference, being a democrat, responsibility for nation-building, and staying on course, I am determined to do just that because I campaigned for this job and you told me in our discussions it’s not easy.
“But I went out there dancing for it, making promises, doing Kokoma, doing all collabos, making music, so I cannot complain. We will be there.”
He noted some of the achievements of the former President, such as the Second Niger bridge which makes inter-connectivity necessary for economic growth, adding that it was vital to the economic growth of the country. He described Buhari as, “a silent worker, a man who is a very very organized and disciplined individual.”
He thanked all the dignitaries that graced the book launch, saying “It has been a wonderful time for our nation, very wonderful indeed. We are facing the roller coaster. Same battle too.
“We removed subsidy, we stopped those people fleecing Nigerians. Yes. I know they will complain. It is the same thing all over. The lesson is learned from you. But the milk of kindness for a nation’s development and prosperity is not fermented, it is learned.’’
Wike summons emergency security meeting, reads riot act to council chairmen
Still in the nation’s capital, the FCT minister summoned an emergency security meeting in the wake of the increasing wave of kidnapping by bandits in Bwari Area Council and other parts of the territory.
At the opening session, Wike assured residents that his administration and security agencies were not sleeping, and urged them not to panic.
He said: “We are all aware of the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory, particularly Bwari and some other areas that we have witnessed security challenges. I am also aware that sometimes too, the press overblows what is happening but, indeed, we owe a duty to make sure FCT is safe.
“We will do all we can and we assure Nigerians who reside here that there is no need for panic. We are taking every step to make sure those challenges are things that we must have to resolve.
“So, this meeting is practically to look into such challenges and see how we will be able to resolve the problems and that is why we invited all the council chairmen because they also have a responsibility in their various area councils.
“We will put our heads together and come up with solutions. For the press, this is just for you to know that we are not sleeping, security also are not sleeping. We will give every support that they require in order to take away the fears of the citizens or residents”.
Wike also warned council chairmen against unnecessary trips, saying they must remain in their councils and take responsibility for issues within their purview.
“This time around, we will not be happy, where Area Council chairmen will leave their responsibilities and travel out. We have got reports that council chairmen travel anytime and then, if anything happens, they will not call anybody’s name except the FCT minister.
“Recently, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, embarked on strike and it is not our fault but the Area Councils. Primary schools are under the Area Councils but again, it will look as if the Ministers are doing nothing but that is not our responsibility. However, we cannot fold our hands and we have invited them to this meeting to see how we can resolve the problem. So, council chairmen should know that, they must live up to their responsibilities. We are doing everything we can to resolve the security challenges we are currently facing,” Wike added.
Kidnappers had taken over parts of Bwari Area Council since December 23, 2023, launching daring attacks and even killing their hostages.
On Monday, there were reports that the kidnappers dumped at least four remains of their victims around the Jere junction on the Abuja-Kaduna highway.
IGP meets task force, tactical squad commanders
Following recent incidents of abduction in the FCT, and similar incidents across the country, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, convened a meeting with the Force Management Team and Tactical Squads yesterday.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Muyiwa Adejobi said: ‘The IGP expressed deep concern over the unfortunate events and emphasized the need for decisive action to curb such heinous crimes.
“During the meeting which centred on a comprehensive review of current security challenges, strategic planning, and the deployment of tactical resources to tackle emerging threats, the IGP emphasized the need for a coordinated and intelligence-driven approach to address the evolving security landscape. “Tactical squads were briefed and directed to intensify efforts on the deployment of proactive measures to prevent criminal activities and protect citizens.
“While reassuring Nigerians, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory, of improved security, the IGP ordered the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, to personally coordinate the up-scaled security strategies placed to decimate kidnappers and other criminally minded individuals in the FCT, and immediately restore normalcy.
“In addition to operational strategies, the IGP underscored the significance of community engagement and collaboration with relevant stakeholders to gather information, enhance trust, and foster a collective effort in combating criminal elements.”
Kaduna to get more military operation bases
In Kaduna, Governor Uba Sani summoned traditional rulers and other stakeholders for an emergency security meeting over the resurgence of banditry and other security challenges in the state.
The governor said in the renewed attacks, bandits and terrorists had exploited gaps, particularly around flashpoints, to carry out ambushes on citizens, and security forces attempting to respond to distress calls.
He regretted the relapse of security on the Kaduna-Abuja Road, which enjoyed relative peace for about 18 months, until the sudden return of attacks and kidnappings.
The governor said at the meeting they would establish more military Forward Operation Bases across the state and tasked military and police operatives to step up their presence in the Tudun Biri general area, given threats arising from efforts to rebuild the community after the military error drone attack, last year.
He said the state government was considering the establishment of the Kaduna State Security Trust Fund, as a means of collaborating with corporate organizations, the business community, industrialists, professional groups, individuals and critical stakeholders toward enhancing material and logistic support to the security forces
While speaking at the opening of the security meeting which was attended by traditional leaders and security officers, the governor said: “The purpose of this meeting is to brainstorm on the situation in certain areas of interest, notably Kauru, Kajuru, Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Chikun, Kachia, Kagarko and the Kaduna-Abuja Road. There was security on the Kaduna-Abuja Road for about 18 months, until the sudden unfortunate and disturbing attack and kidnapping.
“You are also aware of the attacks on citizens and military personnel along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road, and in the Birnin Gwari general area. Bandits and terrorists have exploited gaps — particularly around Maganda, Kuyello and other villages surrounding Buruku, Udawa, Damba, Kuriga, Polewire and other flash points – to carry out ambushes on citizens, as well as security forces attempting to respond to distress calls.
“The recent occurrences on that axis indicate the re-opening of a front on that route, and this points us strongly to the need for renewed focus and coordination.
“Chikun, Giwa and Igabi have become areas of concern as well; from Maraban Rido and Kudendan axis in Chikun, Sauran Goma, Kerawa and Dunki areas of Igabi have also witnessed attacks and killings. I also followed the developments in Giwa from Kidandan, Kaya, Sabon Layi and Idasu.
“The Kauru general area has equally witnessed a resurgence of deadly attacks and kidnappings in recent weeks around Dokan Karji stretching into Kajuru, and also Kachia from the Bishini general area.
“I have equally followed the operations in Kachia, Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Chikun and other locations. We commend the military and all the security agencies for their commitment and sacrifices.
“I must also commend Operation Safe Haven in Southern Kaduna for significantly stabilizing Zangon Kataf, Jema’a, and Kaura. The officers and men of Operation Safe Haven have helped immensely in containing recent threats to peace and safety.
“I will, however, appeal to the military and the police to step up their presence in the Tudun Biri general area given threats arising from efforts to rebuild the community after the unfortunate incident of last year.
“Our administration is fully committed to the security and safety of the whole of Kaduna State, because security is the cornerstone for the realization of our Sustain Agenda.
“I have been pursuing the deployment of more boots on the ground through more military formations. I am happy to inform you that very soon, there will be establishment of some Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in the State. This move will greatly assist the expansion of our campaigns against terrorists and bandits in frontline locations.
“Kaduna State government is working with the Defence headquarters towards actualizing these plans. I have directed the overseeing commissioner of internal security and home affairs to follow this process closely and provide me with regular reports on the establishment of the FOBs and other relevant issues which we are vigorously pursuing.
“Kaduna State government is looking at the possibility of establishing the Kaduna State Security Trust Fund as a means of collaborating with corporate organizations, the business community, industrialists, professional groups, individuals and all critical stakeholders towards enhancing material and logistic support to our security forces.”
“On the side of security agencies, and in light of the challenges we are confronting, I must state that it has become vital for us to further close ranks, rub minds and revisit our collaborative structures. Deepening and strengthening of human intelligence networks is an obvious area requiring urgent review, towards restoring peace and security along these critical highways, and to the troubled communities.”
Direct states to set up local police, Afenifere tells FG
Also worried by the sudden resurgence of kidnapping and other terrorist acts in the country, the Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere, said yesterday that the failure to use National Identification Number, NIN, Bank Verification Number, BVN, to track perpetrators of these heinous crimes was an indictment on security agents and other stakeholders. This was contained in a statement by Pa Reuben Fasoranti-led arm of the Yoruba apex association.
According to the group, steps to combat kidnapping and terrorism threatening the country are within the ambit of the stakeholders, “if they are sincerely ready to stop the deadly menace.”
“A few years ago, when Nigerians were stampeded to register for the National Identification Number, Bank Verification Number as well as registering their telephone numbers and matching some of these numbers, the argument put up was that doing so would make it easier for criminals to be nabbed by security agencies.
“Years, after the registrations have taken place and years after virtually every person using or owning telephone numbers are in the database accessible to the government, criminality and terrorism, are not only still with us, they are also festering with unprecedented ferocity.
“Failure to use tracking method to nab criminals, especially those using telephone sets to communicate, is a serious indictment on those who were supposed to include such in their intelligence gathering and criminal fighting strategies.”
“It is on record that police do use ‘tracking’ to trace culprits when a high-ranking personality is the victim whose high-valued phone etc. was stolen. Why the same police, the Department of State Services, DSS, and the military (Army) have not effectively utilized this important technology in fighting criminality is confounding!”
“Without local collaborators, it would be difficult for marauders from outside to successfully carry out their obnoxious mission and go scotfree”
Afenifere urged President Tinubu to “give a Presidential Order empowering states and local government areas that are willing to set up local police services. Such local police outfit must have the necessary wherewithal to operate as Police.”
To make this permanent, the association stated that mechanisms must also be put in place for restructuring the country such that constituents would be better positioned to take their fates in their own hands – in line with what we used to have before the military truncated the regional arrangement in 1966.
Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to launch Vigilante group in Nasarawa today
Also, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural association said yesterday it was set to launch a Vigilante group to complement the activities of conventional security in Nasarawa State.
The national president of the association, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, announced the launch of the Nomad Vigilante Group in the state.
It would be recalled that on November 2nd, 2023, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore announced its commitment to supporting the Federal Government in its fight against the escalating security challenges across the country.
According to Bodejo in a statement signed by the association’s Publicity Secretary, Mallam Suleiman Tasiu, the quasi-security outfit would fish out criminals among cattle herders in the community, reduce increased allegations against those who are treated unjustly for crimes because of the infiltration of the bad eggs among it members.
“The 2,140-man vigilante group is to complement the efforts of conventional security agencies in addressing insecurity and promote peaceful coexistence in Nasarawa State”, Bodejo stated.
Bodejo, who holds the title of Lamido Fulbe, stressed the need for additional security measures to ensure the safety of residents adding that “ it is in this regard that we are coming up with the 2, 140 strong man vigilante group in Nasarawa State”.
A statement further revealed that the launch is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at the City Square in Lafia, Nasarawa state Capital at 11 am
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