By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security chiefs to identify and crush heads of bandits, kidnappers and their local collaborators to restore confidence in the society.
The president gave the order when he met the security chiefs at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, said the president gave the order when he met the security chiefs at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Monguno, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, quoted the president as warning that his administration would not accept a situation where the security agencies are reactionary rather than being proactive in the fight against insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements.
“On issues of kidnapping and banditry – these menaces still persist especially in the North West and the North Central zones.
”Mr President has stated very clearly that this problem must be brought an end but using the traditional that the armed forces have been trained to deploy.
”Mr President has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that their first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits and kidnappers and take them out in order to restore confidence in those areas.
”Mr President has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation where bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tones and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reaction rather than being proactive,’’ he said.
The NSA also revealed that the president had directed the service chiefs, the intelligence community as well as the constabulary forces to target those agents of disunity across the country.
He said such people had been creating chaos, disunity and disharmony among peace-loving citizens.
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.
“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, who are engaging in all kinds of Hocus Pocus in all kinds of jiggery pokery or skullduggery.
“These people will be brought down to their knees.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lieut.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Navy Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao.
Others were the National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’s and the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu.