By Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru & By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
The Senate yesterday lamented that the escalating wave of insecurity has made Nigeria unattractive for foreign direct investment and urged security chiefs to up their game to halt the ugly trend. He also added that there is nothing to show for the huge investment in security.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who expressed the view at a marathon meeting with military chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies, described the level of insecurity in the country as most frightening.
Lawan spoke on a day bandits attacked the convoy of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 12, Bauchi, Audu Adamu Madaki, inflicting gunshot wounds on his leg, killed his orderly and injured many escorts.
The AIG was on his way to a meeting of Police strategic commanders summoned by Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, in Abuja. Meanwhile, Alkali has ordered enhanced security at prison facilities and raids on suspected criminal cells in response to security glitches.
Senate meets security chiefs
One week after the Minority Caucus of the Senate gave President Muhammadu Buhari six weeks to address insecurity in the country or face impeachment proceedings, the Senate leadership, yesterday, engaged the service chiefs in a marathon meeting to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Speaking before the meeting went into a closed session, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said there is nothing to show that the huge investments in security was yielding result, given that the spate of terrorists’ attacks had become very recurring, with the terrorists now laying siege to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, with serious casualties.
Lawan led other principal officers of the Senate and chairmen of security-related committees to the meeting.
The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Lucky Irabor also led the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, and Chief Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao to the talks.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali; Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi; Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, were also at the meeting.
The National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno, retd was represented as he was said to be at the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.
Lawan, who noted that there is need for security agents to look into ungoverned spaces in the rural areas, said it had become so bad that Nigeria is no longer attractive for foreign direct investment.
‘Low revenue due to crude theft’
Lawan, who attributed the low national revenue to crude oil theft and dwindling revenue that are key areas of concern to Nigerians, said the expectation was to begin to see drastic, immediate improvement in the security situation.
He said: “This particular session of the interaction between us is to look into where we are today and probably this current position where we are is most frightening because it is like there is nowhere to hide, nowhere to go.
“Insecurity is everywhere and especially, if it is coming to the point of dislocating the security situation where the government is quartered. We will really review and see what more we have to do and how differently we have to do it.”
Noting that the Buhari administration had invested heavily on security, Lawan continued: “As far as I can remember, there has never been an administration in this country, especially since the Fourth Republic started in 1999, that invested more resources in the security of this country like this present administration.
“I have no doubt about it. I am a participant. To a very large extent I can say that none.
We believe that as a National Assembly, we have always met this Executive at the right position, at the right time, especially when it concerns investment in the security of life and property in Nigeria.
“We have also, in our individual capacities as committees of the National Assembly and, in fact, as a National Assembly shown concern about the security situation.
“The security situation of any country cannot be 100 per cent satisfactory but, of course, there is a level at which no country can be comfortable with insecurity. Ours has lingered. We had hoped that by this time, the security situation in Nigeria would have been far better and Nigeria would have made more progress not only in the area of security but also in the area of economy which is tied to the security situation.
“I believe that all security agencies and armed forces have been doing their best but apparently, we have to do more to achieve what we desire to achieve.
“Our population is largely peasant. Most of our people are in the rural areas and they live their lives by going to farms. We all know this. In many parts of the country today, that is a herculean task.
“My belief is that we can do better to secure the rural areas, the so-called ungoverned space; at least for our population who go to farms to earn a living.
“Where our agricultural productivity is drastically going down will complicate the security situation because the most ordinary Nigerian cares more about what he or she or what the family will eat. And of course, all other things are secondary.”
We must see security issues from collective perspective — Irabor
On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, who noted that issues of national security must be seen from a collective perspective, said that a lot had happened, adding that more was being done to improve the security situation of the country.
Thanking the Senate leadership for the invitation which he described as an in-house discussion based on mutual concern, he said: “I believe the wisdom of the Senate President and Senate leadership to convene this meeting is borne out of the fact that issues of national security must be seen from a collective perspective and that whatever the situation is, there is always room for rubbing of minds to make contributions to the effect that we have a more secured environment where every Nigerian will have a sense of security in truth, such that our individual and collective aspirations could be achieved.”
General Irabor further told the Senate that “quite a lot has happened, quite a lot has been done, quite a lot is being done to ensure that we improve on the security situation across the country.
“The commitment is there, it’s very profound. I believe that as we go into discussions on specifics, it will be clear that no one is leaving any stone unturned in redressing all the imbalances within the security environment.”
Growing population, poverty, unemploy-ment, breeding banditry, armed groups/militias — CDS
Irabor also attributed current security challenges ravaging the country to the growing rates of population, poverty and unemployment, saying they have provided a breeding ground for security threats.
He said: “The situation is further aggravated by the absence of any social policy to mitigate the effects of poverty on the people with the resultant effect being a frustrated society characterized by the proliferation of violent groups which threaten the stability of the country.”
To check this malaise, General Irabor reiterated the need to embrace non-partisanship, harness the potentials across the entire society, as well as utilize the benefits of strategic communication and media action saying, “I believe that if we lay emphasis on these issues, in addition to the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the situation will change for the better.
He continued: “This position is alluded to by the frustration and aggression theory which states that individuals are motivated to achieve life ambitions and fulfill destiny, but when these expectations are thwarted, frustration sets in (Dollard, 2002). Indeed, it has been opined in several quarters that the reason for this malaise, comes down to governance across board.
“In essence, the quality of governance will play a vital role in addressing some of the challenges raised here. Therefore, in order to engender and sustain economic security in Nigeria, a concerted effort must be made to entrench good governance in the country at all levels especially at the Local Government level.
“The media should not be seen broadcasting, rebroadcasting and circulating news content promoting the ignoble objectives of terrorists and their propaganda. This undoubtedly will contribute to deepening fear, mistrust, hopelessness, and damage the national psyche while helping with recruitment and all ingredients that actively contribute to successful outcomes for terror groups.”
Agreeing that “the public’s right to know is a sacrosanct tenet of journalism” he said, “however, finding the balance between that and ensuring that media platforms do not provide the oxygen of publicity for terrorists and criminals is the acme of good journalism. Therefore, it is my hope that the media in Nigeria will understand the power of positive projection and use it for the development and unity of Nigeria.”
“Indeed, the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) is currently conducting multiple and complex internal security operations in practically all the 36 states of the federation. This has stretched the capacity of the AFN to its limits in terms of manpower and logistics.
“The situation on the ground for the AFN is a case of fighting in all geo-political zones, which has kept the AFN on its toes over the last few years. It is evident that coercive force or kinetic approach alone cannot guarantee national security especially in situations of economic and structural challenges.
“The government has also pursued a whole-of-government approach in tackling some of the security and developmental challenges that confront Nigeria, but this has not been enough.”
Terrorists shoot AIG Zone 12, kill orderly, injure escorts
Marauding terrorists on Tuesday opened fire at the convoy of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 12 Bauchi, Audu Adamu Madaki, inflicting gunshot wounds on his leg.
The bandits also killed the AIG’s order and injured many escorts in the AIG’s convoy during the attack.
Sources, who confirmed the ambush attack, told Vanguard that AIG Madaki was on his way to Abuja to attend the security meeting of Zonal AIGs and command commissioners of police summoned by the IGP, Usman Alkali, to deliberate on the current security challenges plaguing the nation.
The ambush was said to have taken place at about 2.30 pm at the Barde Zangidi area which is a forest stretch straddling Bauchi and Plateau states. In the meantime, IGP Alkali Baba has directed immediate special visibility policing operations across all commands in the country as part of a major operational initiative to stabilise internal security.
Addressing Strategic Police Commanders at Force headquarters yesterday, he said: “This initiative will encompass the crime mapping of your Areas of Jurisdiction, identification of vulnerable points and massive deployment of personnel on motorised and foot patrols of the cities. The initiative also involves the utilization of intelligence to undertake targeted raids on criminal cells.”
Welcoming the Police chiefs to the meeting, the IGP said: “An evaluation of the security situation in the country in recent times shows a concerning trend of an increase in the threat posed to the nation by terror elements, bandits, kidnappers, and other highly organized, and violent criminal syndicates.
“The trend is being compounded by the increasing rate of arms trafficking and proliferation. This has of late occasioned an attack on the Correctional Facility in Kuje during which some high-profile criminals escaped.
“While the Police in conjunction with the other security agencies have succeeded in re-arresting some of the fleeing felons and have enhanced the security of the facility, this incident, and the increasing violent campaigns by armed groups in the country have led to general apprehension among the citizens and continue to present a major threat to our national security.
“Despite this reality within the internal security space, I wish to acknowledge your resilience, sacrifice, courage, initiative, sound operational capacity, and loyalty not only to the Force leadership, but to our dear country in the discharge of your duties.”
“However, I must note that in the face of the current security situation, the citizens of this country and Mr. President demands of us a higher level of commitment to duty towards addressing the prevailing fear of crime among the populace and mitigating the current security threats.
“This is our mandate, and we must commit to achieving it. The pathways for this will form the key object of our deliberation today.”
Attack on AIG: Terrorists scrounging for cheap points— FG
Reacting to the attack yesterday, the federal government described it as an attempt by terrorists to score “a psychological point”.
The Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while responding to a question from State House correspondents on what the attack meant for the government.
Fielding questions on the attack, the minister said: “On the issue of the attack on the AIG in Bauchi, I need further information from the IG as to the circumstances of the attack. “But what I know is that bandits would always want to make this kind of spectacular attack just to score a psychological point.
“But I know that the government is taking the job of security very seriously. As you can see, even today, the Honorable Minister of the FCT has told you exactly what he is doing to ensure that security is improved.
“Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen that the FCT police command has also given out telephone numbers to call in case of any security breach or information.”
He said the success of the military has not received wide reportage as the terrorist attacks.
‘’I know that there have been quite a few successes by the military in overrunning the bandits around Abuja in the last couple of days.
“Regrettably, it’s like when the military is having the upper hand, they are not given the same kind of media coverage as when the bandits attack,’’ Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, also justified the halting of rail services nationwide.
He said imminent security threats necessitated the move as it would be inappropriate to endanger lives.
Recall that the Nigeria Railway Corporation has suspended the Lagos-Kano and Ajaokuta train services over terror fears.
It also suspended services at the Ajaokuta station along Warri-Itakpe route because of the attack on some passengers by gunmen.
Justifying the move, Sambo it was better to suspend the services than subject Nigerians to terror threats.
He said: “I would like to state clearly that it is better to suspend a service where there is an imminent threat, and clear the threat first. Or where an incident had occurred and to investigate that incident, rather than jeopardise the life of a single Nigerian.
IGP orders massive deployment to secure FCT
In a bid to allay the fears of residents in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, concerning the recent perceived security threats, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba ,ordered massive deployment of additional police operatives and operational assets within the metropolis and its environs.
According to a statement from the force, the move is to solidify the security and protection of lives and property of its residents, critical national assets and vulnerable facilities as well as road users plying routes in and around the FCT. The IGP made the charge during the Force Management Team’s meeting at his office.
Use maximum firepower against terrorists, Air chief orders NAF pilots, personnel
Similarly, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, yesterday charged Nigerian Air Force, NAF, operational commanders in various theatres of operation across the country to ‘show no mercy’ and ensure they employed maximum firepower against terrorists posing security threats in the country.
Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday.
While commending NAF personnel for their efforts as well as the improved synergy with sister services and other security agencies, Air Marshal Amao underscored the need for effective allocation and utilization of all NAF platforms deployed for operations in the North-West and North-Central for enhanced operational effectiveness.
The CAS said that doing so would deny the terrorists freedom of movement, while boosting the confidence of the populace and ensuring a peaceful country.
The CAS made the assertions when he met with frontline Air Officers Commanding, AOC, and Air Component Commanders, ACCs, at the NAF Base in Kaduna.
Furthermore, the CAS noted that though the security environment remained fluid and uncertain with terrorists moving between the North-East, North-West and North-Central, there was need to continually modify NAF’s air power strategies to stay ahead of the asymmetric and unconventional nature of terrorists’ activities is of paramount importance.
“We have a responsibility to secure our nation and give our citizens a sense of hope, trust and belonging. Therefore, we must ensure that we stay ahead of the enemy and envisage his next line of action,” he said.
Pay attention to regional, continental, international ramifi-cations of threats, Osinbajo tasks military
Also yesterday, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo tasked senior military and high level participants of Course 30 of the National Defence College to recognise the regional, continental and international ramifications of the threats facing Nigeria and other nations when developing security and defence strategies.
He also challenged the NDC participants to be relentlessly innovative in developing national security and defence strategies to address security challenges.
Vice President Osinbajo gave this charge at the 30th Year Anniversary and Graduation Dinner/Award, of Course 30 participants on Tuesday night in Abuja.
Osinbajo, represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Amb. Adeyemi Dipeolu, said: “You must embrace smart ways of managing society in a pervasively digital universe as contemporary technologies have introduced new levels of complexity to an already challenging security environment.
“Technological revolution in the present era also avails you of a broad range of tools with which you can protect our vital interests and safeguard our people. You must be relentlessly innovative in exploiting these options.
“Overall you must be sensitive to the needs and demands of the people who are the primary reference of national security as the spear and shield of our nation.’’
Disclosing that the world had moved from the erstwhile exclusive approach to security management wherein the military and security agencies were thought to be the exclusive custodians of security, he said: “Security is an entire societal responsibility that could only be achieved in unison with a diverse range of state and civil society actors.’’
He said the whole of society approach to security management had become the primary governing principle of national security governance, noting that the approach was the theme for Course 30.
In his remarks, NDC Commandant, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the celebration of the 30th set of graduates since establishment in 1992, was a milestone in the college’s history.