Despite continuing attacks by bandits and kidnappers across the country, especially along Abuja-Kaduna road, President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the security chiefs for ‘a job well Done’.
Bandits have seized the busy Abuja-Kaduna road linking the North West to Abuja, and on Sunday kidnapped over five travellers while also attacking the road on Monday leading to kidnap of almost a dozen people, eyewitnesses said.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, they attacked the road again with those who succeeded in escaping saying over a dozen people were kidnapped and some others killed.
Various videos made available by some victims who recorded the scenes showed people scampering to safety and abandoning their belongings while some others not so lucky were kidnapped.
But the president used the National Security Council meeting, which was also attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to hail the security chiefs while also tasking them to double up their efforts.
Others who attended the meeting are Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General LEO Irabor.
Also present were the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff as well as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali.
The president’s order was disclose to newsmen by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who said Buhari appreciated the successes and gains recorded by all security chiefs, the security agencies and intelligence organizations on security situation nationwide after he received briefs from them at the meeting.
According to the minister: “He (Buhari) is of the belief that more must and should still be done.
“But he commended all of them for the progress we are recording on all fronts.”
He further stated that the President ordered the armed forces, security agencies and intelligence organizations, 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.
He said: “The President said that 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 the 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 mobilized to intensify surveillance, patrol in pursuit of the criminals.
“And it’s not only about Abuja-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 will 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.”
Also asked if the issue of bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some areas in the country was 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 (Thursday), there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.”
On whether there were new strategies to that effect especially as it was not the first time such charge would be given by President Buhari, 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.”