Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya (left); Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao and Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over security challenges at the Presidential Villa, Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
• NSA promises new strategies, seeks citizens’ cooperation
• We are tackling recent security breaches in Abuja, others –DHQ
• Bandits, military in gun duel at Abuja city gate
• PDP Reps: We’ll start gathering signatures for Buhari’s impeachment in six weeks
• Northeast elders to Buhari: Sack NSA now
• Those piloting nation’s affairs faraway from reality, Afenifere laments
• APC stakeholders demand action against insecurity
• FG to sanction BBC, TrustTv over ‘terrorism glorification’
The Federal Government, yesterday, admitted that Nigerians are tired of the current security challenges facing the nation.
Rising from its closed-door meeting, which lasted more than five hours, the National Security Council acknowledged the deteriorating insecurity across the country, fueling fears among the population and making citizens to tend towards seeking self-help.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), who stated this while speaking with newsmen after the meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, however, said government was currently working on new strategies to curtail the worsening insecurity in the country.
According to him, the Security Council has agreed on new strategies to curtail the menace, assuring that there will be a renewed momentum against terrorism.
DESPITE government’s assurances, the National Assembly, yesterday, moved closer to actualising its threat to impeach President Buhari, as members of the Minority caucus in the House of Representatives expressed willingness to support the Senate in effecting the removal of the President.
Rising from a joint meeting with the opposition Senators, leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House, Ndudi Elumelu, said the Presidency would be served the impeachment notice as soon as the six weeks ultimatum is over.
Elumelu said his colleagues in the House would not have problems in teeming up with the Senate to effect Buhari’s removal.
Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda, explained that the entire Senate was fed up with President Buhari’s failures in the area of insecurity and economy.
The Minority caucuses of the two chambers insisted that they would find constitutional means to serve President Buhari an impeachment notice at the expiration of the six weeks ultimatum given to him to address insecurity in the country.
“The seat of power is no longer safe and we cannot continue to fold our arms till things get out of hands. Recently, Kuje prison was attacked and as if that was not enough, Minister of Education directed that all students should vacate their campuses; similarly, the FCT Minister also directed that schools in FCT should hurriedly close because of insecurity, Abuja is no longer safe and things are standing still,” Elumelu stressed.
KINSMEN of the NSA have called on President Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national priority, sack the retired senior officer for failing to effectively coordinate the intelligence agencies to provide support in curbing the worsening insecurity in the country.
The elders, operating under the aegis of the North East Elders for Peace and Development (NEEPD), said given the escalating security situation across the country, posterity will not be fair to them, if they failed to speak up loudly.
They maintained that, in times of emergency such as Nigeria is currently, men and women of good conscience must jettison tribal sentiments and other primordial considerations, while putting on the garb of patriotism, with a view to rescuing the country from sliding into a failed state.
In a statement by their National Coordinator, Zana Goni, and Dr Hassan Ibrahim Monguno, Borno State coordinator, the elders expressed serious worries that the Nigerian State may, inadvertently, be sharing sovereignty with terrorists, whose daring tendencies are now felt in the FCT.
The elders appealed to President Buhari to drop whatever attachment he has for his NSA, and immediately replace him with a more competent and result-oriented person, as the situation in the country today, requires emergency surgical operation, if Nigeria must reclaim her dignity as a sovereign entity.
SIMILARLY, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, said the domination of the country’s landscape by bandits confirms failure of the current administration.
According to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, the situation that unfolded within the week have confirmed that those piloting the affairs of Nigeria currently are far away from reality that Nigerians are dealing with.
He said: “Three instances are worthy of immediate recall. First was the drama at the National Assembly on Wednesday, where the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, went against the decision taken during the closed-door meeting of the House’s officials to discuss the security situation with a notice of impeachment to be served on President Buhari.
“By coming out to prevent Senators from discussing the issue, was Lawan working towards putting an end to the menace or assisting it to fester?” Ajayi asked.
“The second point to buttress how deceitful those around President Buhari are included the disclosures by two serving Ministers after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday. The Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, described the threat by terrorists to kidnap President Buhari and Governor el-Rufai as laughable while his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria’s economy is doing very well, far better than under the previous administrations.
“What further drove home the fact that President Buhari is not always aware of the reality of the country’s situation was the disclosure by el-Rufai that the President was not aware that terrorists threatened to kidnap both the President and himself until he (el-Rufai) and Governor Bello Matawalle of Nassarawa State told him.
“Yet, the reality around us proved otherwise. We call on the President to wake up to the reality. Delegate powers, summon the necessary political will, stop the kid-glove treatment being given to kidnappers and bandits and allow states that are willing to establish their own police forces,” Afenifere spokesman added.
SPEAKING in similar vein, stakeholders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Northwest zone, yesterday, rose from an emergency meeting with a call on security agencies to tackle the security challenges in the country.
The position by the party stalwarts came against the backdrop of moves by the National Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Buhari over his failure to stem the tide of insecurity.
The APC stakeholders, led by Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State, after a fact-finding tour of the zone, particularly expressed concern over the appalling level of insecurity in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Katsina states.
The stakeholders, in a statement in Abuja, acknowledged that the Federal Government has been very responsive to the needs of security agencies in the country. Nevertheless, they insisted that more needed to be done by security agencies to live up to the expectations of Nigerians by bringing to an immediate end the menace of insecurity ravaging every part of the country.
THE Federal Government has said it will sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust newspaper for airing respective documentaries glorifying and fueling terrorism and banditry in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday.
Mohammed said the Federal Government was aware of the unprofessional documentary by the BBC Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting terror in the country. He condemned the BBC for not upholding the same standards and tenets as they would have done in the United Kingdom (UK).
The Minister also condemned Trust TV, owned by Media Trust Ltd. for using its platform to grant interviews to a bandit kingpin, Shehu Rekeb, thereby, promoting the activities of terrorists.
According to him, both platforms, by their actions, have become accomplices to terrorists and bandits in the name of reporting. The Minister said the appropriate regulatory body was already looking at the infractions and appropriate sanctions would be meted out to both platforms.
“There is a regulatory body regulating broadcasting, which is the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and they are also aware of these two incidents. They are looking at which part of the Broadcasting Code has been violated by the BBC and Trust TV. Media is the oxygen that terrorists and bandits use to breathe.
“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC can give their platform to terrorists showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, it is unfortunate.
“I want to assure them that they will not get away with it, appropriate sanctions will be meted to both the BBC and the Trust TV,’’ he said.
THE NSA, after the security meeting, had noted that Nigeria is in a difficult situation, saying the President is aware of the people’s concerns about the growing insecurity.
He pointed out, however, that winning the war against terrorists was a responsibility of all citizens, including civilians, who are required to complement the efforts of the security, intelligence and armed agencies with useful information.
Monguno, who said the meeting, the third in less than a month, was a follow up on the one held last week, added that fighting the sort of insecurity facing the country can only be successful when it is confronted with what he called the ‘whole of society’ approach.
“The Council has seen it necessary to inform the public that fight in this type of asymmetric conflict is a collective effort, it’s not something that should be confined to only the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. When we keep saying whole of society approach, whole of government approach, to get a whole nation approach, what it means is that everybody has to partake in this enterprise.
“The truth is that no country can ever overcome the difficulties of an asymmetric conflict by virtue of the fact that the enemy of the state is embedded within the population and the wider society. It is true that the local people are averse, they’re scared, they’re worried and there’s no confidence. That is understandable. But without their support, without their cooperation in terms of giving information, it makes it very hard for the operational elements,” he said.
Referencing the reported attack on men of the Brigade of Guards earlier in the week, Monguno pointed out that such an attack could have been averted had the civilian population extended support to the security agencies with required information.
“A few days ago, troops of the Guards Brigade were ambushed and decimated. Had there been a collective effort by way of just snippets of information, we might have averted that incident. That is not to say that the responsibility is for those outside the security domain, it’s a collective responsibility,” he said.
THE Military High Command, on Thursday, also assured the public, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs not to panic over recent security breaches as the armed forces and other security agencies were tackling the security challenges with a view to ending insurgency activities in the affected areas.
Director of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Major General Benard Onyeuko, gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen at the bi-weekly briefing on troops’ activities and operational successes being recorded in the various operational theatres of the six geo-political zones of the country.
According to him, “with the recent operations carried out between July 23 and 28, we wish to assure residents of FCT, in particular, that we are undaunted and unrelenting in our efforts to ensure the safety of life and property.
“People should go about their normal business as their safety is guaranteed, the support and cooperation of all Nigerians are hereby solicited as security is everybody’s business. Citizens are encouraged to report any unusual persons in your community to security agencies. If you see something, say something.”