Insurgency: FG identifies causes, tasks security agencies on intelligence gathering

By Olayinka Ajayi

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau
Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau

Following the incessant killing across Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria has identified factors responsible for the continued wave of killings across the country, charging security agencies on the need to gather actionable intelligence to curtail it.

Speaking during an emergency internal security summit in Abuja, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau stated : “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.”

Adding that: “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.” “There are many challenges contributing to insecurity and impeding optimum performance of security agencies. I will mention a few of them. Notably, there is poor logistics, including weapons and ammunition. “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 property 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-radicalization and counter-narrative programmes. “The take off point for tackling insecurity in Nigeria is intelligence; actionable intelligence 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”, he added.

He said: “Currently, there are very large swathes of ungoverned forests that are inter-connected, covering Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Borno and Adamawa 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 adjoining 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 whence criminal organizations 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.”

Dambazau said government is currently pursuing the implementation of a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, while government is also in the process of entering such agreement with Niger and Chad, respectively where there are also thousands of Nigerian refugees. A representative of the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Umar Ibrahim advised security operatives to remain neutral in the discharge of their mandate.

This emergency meeting is long overdue. The truth has been said and it is left for all the security agencies to wear our thinking caps, go back to the drawing board and do what we are expected to do. There is no anywhere 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 parts of the country. Please we should not take sides, we must do our job accordingly.” Representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Olusoji Awomodu said the military was doing a lot and now 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.”

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