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Buhari to Security Chiefs: Rescue all Nigerians held hostages by kidnappers

Security chiefs got a marching order from the President yesterday. They must rescue unhurt all Nigerians held hostage by terrorists and kidnappers within the shortest possible time.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive at the National Security Council meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Luck Irabor, Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amoo, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Awwal Gambo, Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali and National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd).

The NSA, who brief reporters along with the IGP, said the President was particularly saddened by last month’s attack on a Kaduna-bound train by terrorists, who killed eight passengers, injured many and kidnapped scores.

According to Monguno, getting all those abducted freed without harm was the President’s number one directive to the security chiefs.

The NSA challenged the public to assist the security agencies with information on the activities of terrorists and other criminals, saying that what was required to stamp them out was human intelligence.

Gen. Monguno also gave reasons for the low usage of technology in tracking the terrorists.

He said: “Technology is expensive. Technology takes time to acquire since we do not produce this very delicate equipment.

“It’s not as if the government is not making any effort to acquire it but we need to know who to acquire technology from, where and when. There are certain processes. For now, I know we have some but they are inadequate.”

On alleged sabotage within the ranks and file of security agencies, Monguno said that the possibility could not be ruled out.

The NSA said: “Mr President spoke about his sadness in respect of the recent developments in the country, the recent security challenges we’ve had; in particular, the incident in which several Nigerians lost their lives and many more have been taken into captivity by criminals and bandits.

“Mr President has directed all the operational and intelligence elements to rescue these innocent people immediately and unhurt. This is the basis on which other issues were discussed.

“If something negative happens 10 times, will anyone be happy to allow it to continue? As the leader of this country, the father of the nation, he (Buhari) has to express his displeasure.

“You know, he is at the managerial level, he gives us instructions. And his displeasure is probably because he feels enough is not being done.

“We can’t put this thing on his shoulders completely. He’s at the strategic level, he takes the decisions. But when these things become endless, he has to express concern. And that’s just what he did.”

He added: “I submitted a memo to Council and my recommendations are being looked into by the President. My recommendations are wide-ranging and they touch on all aspects of security, starting with the level of security of our land borders, as well as within the country itself.

“In terms of securing the nation, we’ve recorded a lot of successes in the maritime domain and obviously, the problem now has shifted to our borders from outside.

“As a result of that, there’s a need for us to configure how we’re going to make our borders more secure because of the threats coming from outside the borders.

“The present situation calls for a collective effort by all, not just those that have been charged with the responsibility of physically securing the country, the most important thing, for now, is the acquisition of intelligence and the type of intelligence that is needed is human intelligence.

“I have to be very honest; unless the wider society, right down to the local governments, are willing to give the type of information that is needed to block the activities of these criminals, this situation will continue to linger beyond whatever timeframe we’re looking at, towards ending this big problem.”

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