President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his concern over the spate of security challenges facing some parts of the country, stressing that he will stop at nothing to change the tide.
The National Security Adviser to the President retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno stated that the president had summoned an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday in Abuja.
He claims that discussions at the meeting focused on current security issues plaguing the nation and resulted in decisions to examine current tactics for combating the epidemic.
‘`Today’s meeting was convened by the President as a continuation of the meeting that took place last week to discuss the technical issues and the taskings that were given to the various security agencies.
“The meeting deliberated on all those issues after the brief by the National Security Adviser, which is usually the procedure.
“Again, Council deems it necessary to inform the general public that fighting 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 the whole of society approach, the whole of government approach, to get a whole of a national approach, what it means is that everybody has to partake in this enterprise.’’
The NSA contends that no nation has ever been able to successfully navigate an asymmetrical conflict since the state’s adversary is ingrained in the populace and larger society.
“It is true that the local people are averse, they’re scared, worried, and there’s no confidence.
“That is understandable. But without their support and cooperation in giving information, it is very hard for the operational elements.
“A few days ago, troops of the guards brigade were ambushed and decimated.
“Had there been a collective effort by 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 added.
He blamed the media for allegedly tilting their report to favour the terrorists, saying it was indirectly fueling their resolve.
The NSA also disapproved of some political elites’ statements, particularly those made by thinkers, claiming that some unguarded remarks were harmful to society.
“Furthermore, Council is also concerned about the nature of media reporting incidents regarding insecurity.
“It is important for the media to understand that certain reports being generated by the media, either how they report, can also aggravate this delicate situation.
“So Council is urging the media to be very careful in whatever it reports, whatever gets out to the public space, can have a debilitating effect on the population.
“Equally, the political elite is also urged to take into account the consequences of utterances, especially from people who have established a reputation, people who are considered leaders of thought, and people who are considered to have some influence in society.
“Whatever goes out may be harmful, not just to the government, if that is the intention, which I doubt may not be a deliberate thing, but at the end of the day, it will affect the wider society”.
While confirming how the president is reacting to the security situation, Monguno said:
“We are in a very difficult situation. And Council understands. Mr. President understands people’s concerns about the growing insecurity.
“But I can assure you that there’s no straight cut and dried method of dealing with this thing unless all of us embrace each other.
“I know people are weary, and people are tired. People are beginning to gravitate to other places for self-help. The truth is that help is rooted in everyone working for the other person.
“Again, the armed forces members have also committed that in the coming weeks, they have already started working on a new strategy to deal with these snippets of violence.
“They’ve given their word their commitment to the President, that there will be a change in momentum, even though there might be certain institutional limitations they face. But they understood the enormity of their responsibilities,’’ he added.
Monguno disclosed that the special investigating panel on the attack on the Kuje Correctional Center had begun the process of being wound up by the Council.
“The idea is to come up with recommendations, hold those who are supposed to be held accountable for their deeds and ensure that this type of thing never, ever happens again in this country.
“In a nutshell, that was what Council deliberated on,’’ he said.
Others in attendance included the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi and the Minister of Defense, retired Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao; and the Chief of Defense Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Samuel Adebayo were also in attendance.
The Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Usman; the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar, also attended the meeting.