Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has blamed the spate of killings in the country on poor logistics, insufficient weapons and ammunition, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field.
Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), said this, on Thursday, in Abuja, while making opening remarks at an emergency one-day internal security summit to examine, the reality of the current security situation within the country.
According to him, “There are many challenges contributing to insecurity and impeding the optimum performance of security agencies.
“I will mention a few of them. Notably, there is poor logistics, including weapons and ammunition.
While expressing sadness over the development, Dambazau further noted: “There is also a general problem of command and control, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field which ultimately impacts negatively on operational efficiency and corporate image of our services.
“So much has been happening in terms of criminal violence, specifically rural banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, communal violence, herders-farmers conflict, etc, and of course the number of victims has been increasing.
“It is the responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, and we are the very people entrusted with that responsibility by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Of course. we all know that successes have been achieved regarding the degrading and dismantling the activities and structures of Boko Harem in the country, especially in the North East.
“But we also know that part of the frustration is that the leadership of this terrorist group has been unleashing suicide missions using particularly the girl-child against soft targets.
“We are also aware that post-conflict peace-building is of greater challenge, especially as regards rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced persons, who are mostly women and children.
“The success of our post-conflict peace-building efforts will largely depend on our ability to coordinate and execute reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation efforts, including de-radicalisation and counter-narrative programmes.
“There are indications, according to the minister; “that some of the threats are politically motivated from within the country. Some are induced from outside the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials.”
Dambazau further noted that government is currently pursuing the implementation of a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.
Nigeria, he said, is also in the process of entering such agreement with Niger and Chad, respectively where there are also thousands of Nigerian refugees.
The take-off point for tackling insecurity in Nigeria, the minister said, is actionable intelligence, stressing that: “for that matter. We are not dealing with conventional threats, but peculiar threats that are laced with terrorism, sabotage, and efforts to manipulate our society’s fault lines of religion and ethnicity.
“There are indications that some of these threats are politically-motivated from within the country: some are induced from the outside of the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials; while others are as a result of outright criminal acts or violent extremism or both.
“Whatever the source of these threats, security agencies must articulate their plans to contain, control and prevent them.
“These threats not only undermine democracy but also slow down our development and growth, thereby impacting on the peace, security and stability of our dear nation,” he said.
Dambazau said ethnic identity, politics contribute to conflicts in Nigeria especially through manipulation of ethnic demographics to cause disunity and promote rebellion against the government.
“Currently, there are very large swathes of ungoverned forests that are inter-connected, covering Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe Borno and the Adamowa States. serving as sanctuaries for armed bandits and violent criminals.
“Over time, these bandits and other violent groups have perfected a pattern of launching indiscriminate attacks on hitherto peaceful communities killing, maiming, abducting, raping and traumatizing scores of defenceless citizens under several guises.
“The areas worst hit by these attacks include Birnin Gwari and the adjoining communities, southern parts of Kaduna, large parts of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Adamawa states. In the last few years, the entire Zamfara state has been reduced to a killing field to our collective shame.
“Other adjoin states such as Katsina, Kogi and Sokoto states have experienced similar carnage from armed bandits. A few other sanctuaries exist, albeit to a lesser degree, across the geopolitical zones from where criminal organisation unleash violence on hapless citizens in isolated communities and unsuspecting commuters of our’ vast national road networks.
“Particularly, Abuja-Kaduna road and Jos-Riyom axis have acquired notoriety for wanton premeditated killings of innocent wayfarers.
“This situation is exacerbated by the inability of vulnerable communities to promptly call for help in the event of attacks,” he said.
The representative of the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Umar Ibrahim, advised security operative not to take sides, urging them to do their job professionally.
In the words of the defence minister, “This emergency meeting has been long overdue. The truth has been said and it is left for all the security agencies to wear our thinking cap go back to the drawing board and do what we are expected to do.
“There is nowhere in the world that this kind of senseless killings will be going on and security forces will go to sleep. I want us to check this act of killings going on in most part of the country. Please, we should not take a side, we must do our job accordingly,” he warned.
Also the representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Olusoji Awomodu said, “the Military is doing a lot and we are at the peak of the situation. We will continue to do our best.
“It has been very tough but I can assure you as military men we are ready and always ready to put our lives on the line to ensure that everything is peaceful in this country.” (The Sun)