President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Nigerian military to re-examine strategies towards defeating the Islamic States for West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the North East.
Mr Buhari gave the directives at the opening of the 10th National Security Seminar organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC), on Wednesday in Abuja.
The seminar with the theme; “Combating Insecurity in Nigeria” was organised in collaboration with the Office National Security Adviser (ONSA) and NDC.
Mr Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, said new threats in the areas of insurgency and terrorism had emerged due mainly to the defeat of ISIS.
He, however, stated that the security agencies had been given renewed mandate to deal mercilessly with all forms of criminality such as terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
“This is a major concern and threat to us, as their presence in the West African Sahel region poses great danger not only to Nigeria but the entire region.
“Thus we are exploring higher level of collaboration among all nations and international organisations to effectively curtail the spread of terrorism and defeat insurgency and terrorism.
“No doubt, our forces have over the years worked hard to defeat Boko Haram and they will as well re-examine their strategies to deal with ISWAP that has invaded parts of the country.
“The criminal elements using kidnapping and other criminal activities as a way to get rich quick should either stop such acts forthwith or face the full weight of the law as security agencies have a renewed mandate to deal with such acts of criminality,’’ he said.
Mr Buhari said the government would continue to prioritise security, adding that the seminar was necessary especially at a time when the government was making efforts to ensure attainment of sustainable peace in the country.
He said that AANDEC’s close collaboration with ONSA, NDC and other security agencies presented the type of desired collaborative efforts towards addressing major security issues and challenges facing the country.
He said it is therefore expected that at the end of the seminar, we will have some implementable recommendations that can move the nation forward.
“As we all know, security should be the concern of everyone hence we must all corporate and work collaboratively to address security issues from all perspectives, be it physical or human.
“The nexus between physical and human security makes it necessary for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to be highly productive.
“States and Local Governments should also view workers’ welfare with utmost priority while all security agencies in particular must deal appropriately with extremist tendencies that are capable of affecting peace and development of the nation, according to the law.
“The National Security Strategy 2019 is very clear on these and we shall implement every aspect of it.’’
On the border closure, Mr Buhari said government had to consider temporary closure of land borders with a view to taking a closer look at how to address the challenges of smuggling and illegal movement of weapons.
He added that the border issue would be properly examined in collaboration with its neighbours to put in place acceptable measures to prevent illegal economic activities and other related crimes.
The president commended AANDEC for its contribution over the years towards enhancing security, peace and development in Nigeria.
On his part, the Minister of Defence, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nuratu Batagarawa, acknowledge the effort of President Buhari for creating an enabling environment to resolve the prevailing security challenges.
Mr Magashi said it was imperative to forge a common front among the security challenges to finding permanent solutions to the security challenges, adding that seminar was apt.
He said the ministry would put in measures to implement the recommendations from the communique at the end of the seminar.
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He said it is believed that the seminar will go a long way in providing far reaching recommendations that would help in tackling the national security challenges.
Earlier, the president of AANDEC, Garba Audu, a retired major general, disclosed that the seminar was organised with a view to proffering solutions to national security challenges.
Mr Audu said that the seminar would focus on some key security challenges bedeviling the country such as negotiations with bandits in some parts of the country.
He said solution to national security challenges goes beyond the military intervention, adding that economic solutions were also required.
He said the AANDED regularly review the national security challenges facing Nigeria with a view to articulating informed measures to address them.
“It is noteworthy that AANDEC is highly blessed with some best trained military and security sector officers both serving and retired around the world who are professionals in various fields of human endeavour.
“They are highly experienced in the conduct of security operations in and outside the country.
“Members of AADEC therefore, constitute the appropriate team of think tank that can be relied upon to proffer solution to Nigerian security and development challenges,’’ he said.