By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Apparently not satisfied with the lingering cases of banditry and insurgency in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has again charged the Service Chiefs to ‘Shape Up or Ship Out’.
This new charge was given to them on Tuesday in Abuja when Mr. Buhari met with the Heads of the security agencies including the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the closed doors meeting with the President at Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Defence Minister Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd.), who led the Service Chiefs to the seat of government told journalists that President Buhari has directed the Service Chiefs to find new ways, tactics and style to deal with the menace of banditry and other criminalities once and for all.
General Magashi also said that they were in the Presidential Villa to keep the President abreast with the achievements recorded by the Service Chiefs in the face of the challenges they are facing since their appointments.
The Defence Minister’s interaction with the reporters went thus:
“This meeting was called in order to keep the C-in-C abreast on the current happening in the North West and North Central, in respect of the improvements, problems and any other thing associated with the insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and the rest of it.
“From the meeting, we believe that the spate at which these things are happening in Zamfara State and Northcentral is a source of concern to the government and to all agencies that are responsible for the execution of the operations in the Northcentral.
“We discussed the need for urgency in our dealing with the bandits. We believe they’re becoming a nuisance; killing people, they are doing what they like, they make careless statements, they say what they think they should say in order to solicit the kind of audience they want from the society.
“We believe that we have gone a long way in keeping this country together. If one looks back, prior to our coming, 2014, you’ll find that there’s a lot of improvement, but people are not seeing it anymore. They believe probably we are incapable or there is something which we don’t know, but we are trying to find out why people are not appreciating the efforts of government.
“We have appraised our position, we’ve found that we are capable, we can do this thing, but we need the cooperation of every Nigerian in order to ensure a free society. Security, as far as this country is concerned, is the paramount important thing in this country, without security, nothing will happen and the Commander in Chief has emphasised this today that without security, nothing can go.
“So, he has directed us to find ways, tactics and style with which we can get out of this and we assured him that we’ll do our best to ensure the mission is successful and we’ll do all we can to ensure the completion of this mission, especially when equipment and other things are available to support the course of our tactical manoeuvres and that we’ll do very well from now”.
Asked if the military have started using the new Super Tucano jets recently acquired by the Federal Government, he replied: “We are just testing them, six are still coming by the end of… maybe next week. So, when the twelve of them are here, I think the Chief of Air Staff will brief you on the operations that they are to undertake as soon as possible”.
Also, speaking on the crisis meeting between the President and the Service Chiefs, IGP Baba confirmed that President Buhari have given them the marching orders to end the menace of banditry without further delay.
Baba said: “The new marching order (by President Buhari) is that all the Service Chiefs and Intelligence Chiefs have been warned to go and reinvigorate efforts and to do more so that the North Central and Nigeria at large should enjoy better security”.