*Restates order anyone found with AK-47 illegally be shot
*Banditry taking too much toll on us, traditional rulers tell Buhari
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reiterated that the nation’s Security Chiefs have received marching orders to go harder on criminals, including to shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47.
The President spoke at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
The meeting was attended by security chiefs including the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd), Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, the Director-General of Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Bichi, and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The President, who apprised the meeting with efforts by the government to improve the security situation in the country, said his administration has recorded appreciable successes in the North-east and South-South parts of the country.
According to him, ‘‘But what surprises is what is happening now in the North West were the same people, with the same culture are killing each other, taking their livestock and burning properties.
‘‘As a result of that, we had a four-hour meeting of the National Security Council attended by the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Service Chiefs, Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of Police and others and we gave clear instructions.
‘‘One thing that got to the press which I read myself was that anyone with an AK-47 will be shot.
‘‘This is because AK-47 is supposed to be registered and it is only given to security officials.
‘‘We closed the borders for some years but the intelligence report I’m getting on a daily basis is that those who are conducting the abductions, the killings and so on are still not short of arms and ammunition,’’ he said.
The President expressed dismay at the attacks on police stations and killings of security personnel by criminals, warning that no investor will invest in a country that is unsafe.
President Buhari also stressed the need for traditional rulers to use their roles and positions as bridge builders in each of their communities to complement government efforts at ensuring peace and security.
He appealed to the traditional leaders to deploy their reach and influence in the best interest of assisting the Government to root out those whose sole objective remains to cause trouble and destruction of livelihoods and families across the nation.
The President, who listened to various interventions from representatives of the traditional rulers from each of the six- geo-political zones in the country, pledged that his administration would continue to support and work collaboratively with them to ensure peace and stability.
Restating his marching orders to the newly appointed Service Chiefs to bring the security situation under control, the President noted that closer control can only be achieved with the cooperation and collaboration of traditional rulers and authorities, who occupy a critical role in our society.
‘‘By your role and positions with a history dating back hundred years, the people trust you implicitly and in return, you provide them with comfort and guidance in accordance with our cultural heritage and traditions.
‘‘You are the bridge builders in each of your communities. No one is better placed with your strength of moral authority to ensure that people who visit your communities for either business, leisure or any honest and credible reason are protected and made to feel at home,’’ he said.
In separate remarks, the royal fathers stressed the need for the traditional institution to be assigned definite roles, particularly on peace and security, within the ambit of the Constitution as well as regular engagement with the National Assembly on multiple fronts.
The following royal fathers made interventions at the meeting: the Sultan of Sokoto, the Ooni of Ife, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Etsu Nupe, Alh. (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar, King Jaja of Opobo, Dr. Dandeson Douglas Jaja, Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Iliyasu and the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the delegation of the traditional rulers, made up of representatives from the six geo-political zones of the country pleaded with the President to do more to restore normality.
Leader of the delegation and Etsu Nupe, His Royal Highness Yahaya Abubakar, revealed that the bandits make use of sophisticated weapons that reach kilometres compared to the ones borne by the security forces.
He, therefore, stressed the need to equip the Nigerian military to be able to match the bandits.
The royal father said their people were suffering because of banditry and that they were urgently asking for succour from the government.
He said the monarchs also requested the government to provide them with a role in the effort to resolve insecurity in the country.
The Etsu Nupe said the president reassured that beyond what the administration was already doing, it will equip the military and expressed commitment to deal ruthlessly with the criminals.
Asked to comment on the allegation that some traditional rulers collaborate with foreign elements to carry out criminal activities, he said that the allegation could not be far from the truth but that mechanism was being put in place to checkmate such persons.
The traditional rulers were led to the briefing by the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd)