No rest until insurgents, bandits’re crushed –Buhari

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has again issued marching order to security chiefs over insecurity across the country occasioned by activities of bandits and insurgents, saying they must not rest until all Nigerians are at rest.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the disclosure at the end of  the National Security Council (NSC) meeting at the State House, Abuja.

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He said the president, after receiving briefs from  the armed forces and other security agencies and intelligence organisations, charged them not to rest on their oars, notwithstanding the progress and efforts being made to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom and all the other criminalities.

“The president said we are not yet where we should be; that Nigerians deserve to live in peace and that until we achieved that we will not rest.”

Asked if resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highways was discussed at the meeting, Aregbesola said: “Oh, yes. The police and other security agencies had been mobilised to intensify surveillance, patrol in pursuit of the criminals. And it’s not only about Abuja and Kaduna. Yes, Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically but we appreciated the fact that we are in the season of festivity. So, all agencies committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order have been ordered to improve on their activities, intensify surveillance and minimize, if not eliminate totally any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria.”

Asked if the military or the police would be taking the lead, he said: “Police, as I said, is the lead agency on internal security. So, whatever I’ve said about maintenance of law and order will start with the police and then extend to all the other security agencies, certainly.”

On if the issue or bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some  areas in the country were discussed, he said: “Specific orders have been  given to all our security  agencies. And we’ll see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form and creating insecurity in whatever form anywhere. The council, today took firm decision on what to be done and I can assure Nigerians that with the charge from the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces today, there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.”

On whether there were new strategy to that effect as this will not be the first time such charge would be given, the minister said: “But what I know is that for as long as there is life, we must not rest until our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerians is made possible. So, I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies, from the military, to the police, intelligence organizations and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”

He said Buhari was also particularly happy with the news that the Head of INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Garba Umar, has been elected vice president (Africa) and executive committee member of the International Criminal Police Organisation  (INTERPOL).

The minister said President Buhari was particularly pleased with the outcome of the November 6 gubernatorial election that produced former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, in the Anambra State governorship election.

“The president was particularly happy with the fact that a free and fair election was made possible by the INEC and our security agencies. And he was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies from the military to the police and all the other agencies made that possible with the support of the people and the government of Anambra. We all saw the outcome. With that, there is no doubt as to the commitment of our administration to promoting democracy and ensuring that 2023 is not in any way threatened.”

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