PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he will do whatever it will take to ensure that the #EndSARS protests does not repeat itself in the country.
This is as the President and heads of security agencies have expressed concern over the increasing cases of banditry and kidnapping in the country especially within the North West and North East geopolitical zones and resolved to deal with it decisively.
Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, disclosed this on Tuesday, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Security Council meeting chaired by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Dingyadi said that the meeting was convened to brief the President about security situation in the country.
According to him, “The meeting noted with concern the increasing cases of armed banditry particularly in the North West and North Eastern part of the country. The meeting agreed to be more proactive in dealing with the situation in a more decisive manner.
“The meeting noted the need to pay greater attention to the police in the discharge of its functions to maintain peace in the country, in the areas of equipment and moderne technology.
“The meeting thanked the President for the concern which he has shown in repositioning the police to perform more effectively.
“In his concluding remarks, Mr. President thanked members for the efforts they are making in maintaining peace and assured members that he will do whatever it takes to support security agencies in providing peace in the country.
“Mr. President assured Nigerians that he will do whatever it takes to ensure the repeat of EndSARS protests does not occur in Nigeria again.
“Mr. President reassured that all stakeholders will be involved in the Process of maintaining peace in the country, particularly the youth, community leaders, traditional rulers, politicians, public servants, religious leaders etc.”
The Minister said that the Federal Government will continue to maintain its bureaucratic, humane and just postures in handling security matters in the country.
Asked to explain what the President meant by saying he will not allow a repeat of EndSARS protest and whether he would move against any such protest in future, the Minister said, “What we are saying is that government will continue to dialogue, it will continue to listen and will continue to carry all stakeholders along in ensuring that there is no repeat of what happened that destroyed a lot of properties, public and private, individuals in this country.”
Fielding question on the Council’s resolution to be more decisive in dealing with security issues, he said that an all inclusive action would be taken to ensure that in terms of technology, equipment the challenges are taken head on.
Dingyadi said that the government alongside the security agencies have set out a time line to deal with the security situation in the country.
“Let me say that in whatever one does you must have a timeline, you must have your targets and you must work towards achieving those targets. We have our timelines, we have our targets and we are working towards achieving those targets,” he said.
Also answering another question on the comment by Audu Bulama Bukarti, a security analyst in an interview that if care was not taken bandits and other criminals will become too powerful to be rein in, he said that bandits had already been degraded and can never overpower the government.
He said, “You see, these bandits have already being degraded, so there is no way they will resuscitate themselves and take over.
” I think they have already been degraded, what they are doing is just hit and run kind of tactics. So, we don’t see any sign of them coming to takeover or overpower, I think they have been well degraded and they are just trying to show their presence in a very cowardice manner.”
On the concerns that police have abandoned Abuja-Kaduna road, the Minister said, “Once a small thing happens in a particular place like this Kaduna, we begin to talk about lack of security in that area.
“That place is being monitored 24 hours. There are police and the army who are on a kind of joint patrol on 24 hours basis. We also have our own separate police formation that is also on that road.
“I think it is an over statement to say that that place is not being secured. People are still following it, we agree that there have been cases of attacks but these are normal things these people do whenever they have opportunity and we are equal to the task.
“Whenever this kind of thing happens, we pursue them like what happened just two days ago, those people were rescued. So police and security personnel will continue to monitor this road and all other places to ensure that peace is to a very large extent maintained in the area.”
Asked if the police were really back on the streets and whether their morale boosted to tackle the boldness of kidnappers going to people homes, he said that the police were back on their duty post.
He said, ” Even this morning (yesterday) at this meeting, I informed council that the police are very much on their duty posts unlike what people are saying. We receive daily situation reports from across the states and that is a good indicator that the police are very much on their duty posts, they are also on the road and they are working 24 hours.
“But I will agree with you when you say that police are not everywhere. We cannot be everywhere because of our number and equipment but we are doing all we can to ensure that we cover as much as we can and to protect as many lives as we can to ensure that there is peace in this country.”
The Minister, who was asked what was being done differently to stop the money being paid as ransome, which allegedly was being used to fund Boko Haram, warned the public to stop paying ransome.
He said, “You see, we always encourage people to report these cases to the police because, the moment you take it upon yourself and continue to pay ransom this will continue to occur.
“But if you report to the police, they will continue to pursue these people and in most cases we succeed in freeing these victims.”
The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the Ministers of Defense Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magaji (retd.).
Others were the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi.
The Service chiefs in attendance were the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Rafa’i Abubakar; and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi were also present.