President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, at the National Security Council meeting, order the police to take effective charge of internal security ahead of the festive season, which is weeks away.
The president, who was also irked by the rising insecurity in many parts of the country, alsogave fresh mandate to the security chiefs to ensure that banditry and insurgency become a thing of the past.
At the same time, Buhari, has commended the successful outcome of the Anambra State governorship election, saying it was a pointer to the fact that the 2023 general election was not threatened.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who briefed newsmen at the end of the NSC meeting at the State House, Abuja, said the resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highways was a major item at the meeting and a precursor to the order handed the police to take charge of internal security.
“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, 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.”
However, when asked if the military or the police would be taking the lead in the maintenance of security during the yuletide period, the minister explained: “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 the rising insecurity orchestrated by banditry and insurgency, Aregbesola, said the President has asked the heads of military and other security agencies not to rest on their oars until all the security challenges were solved and Nigerians could sleep with their two eyes closed.
He said the president, after receiving adequate briefs from all security chiefs, the security agencies and intelligence organisations for security nationwide, appreciated the successes and gains recorded by all of them.
His words: “He (President 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 reiterated that Buhari ordered them not to rest on their oars, notwithstanding the progress and efforts being made to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, 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. 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.”
Asked if there were new strategies to that effect since it was not the first time such charge would be given by the president, the minister said, “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 organisations and all other security forces, certainly, Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”
Meanwhile, Aregbesola also said the president was pleased with the outcome of the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, which produced a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo.
According to him, “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 that is a good assurance to all Nigerians, that we are committed to promoting democracy, that is in respect of Anambra election.
“The President was particularly happy that a free and fair gubernatorial election held in Anambra. 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.”
In another development, Aregbesola informed that Buhari was 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.
He said: “And the council was briefed about the election today of a Nigerian, AIG Garba Umaru, who emerged out of the four other candidates, as the vice president of Interpol for Africa, which means that a Nigerian today, represents the 54 African nations at the Interpol level.
“The election took place today (Thursday), a couple of hours ago. And he emerged as the vice president of Interpol in Africa, representing the 53 African nations. That too was discussed, appreciated and applauded.”
Present at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Leo Irabor.
The three service chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, were also in attendance.
Before the commencement of the meeting, Buhari, with the assistance of Osinbajo, decorated his Aide De Camp (ADC), Lt Col Yusuf Mukhtar Dodo, with his new red neck rank of Colonel. ThisDay