- President Muhammadu Buhari has denounced the rumour that Boko Haram insurgents have sophisticated weapons than the military
- Buhari had on Tuesday, August 11, held a meeting with some governors over the insecurity in the country
- The president, however, said the insurgents have been reduced to mere scavengers desperate for food
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President Muhammadu Buhari has dispelled the rumours that the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast had far more weapons and money than the federal government.
Legit.ng reports that the president stressed that what is left of the dreaded group were “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”
The president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Tuesday, August 11, quoted the president as making the assertion during his meeting with the state governors on the security situation in the country.
He said the president and the state governors ended their meeting on the state of the nation’s security with a call for a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits.
They also called on field commanders to take measures to protect civilian communities as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and those communities.
The president and the governors believed that ”when the trust that has been lost between both parties is re-established, there would be improved cooperation in intelligence-gathering and sharing.”
The presidential aide revealed that the meeting also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment were at the root of the nationwide security challenges, and needed to be addressed with greater vigour by all tiers of government.
Shehu said the meeting also focused on the country’s security policies and approaches in tackling the internal security challenges with a charge that intelligence-gathering and sharing must be optimised.
Buhari also expressed concern that in spite of the fact that borders with neighbouring countries had been shut, bandits and terrorists continued to have access to small weapons.
“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms?” he queried the security and intelligence chiefs.
He said: “We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there is better synergy and cooperation which are very important.
”I have directed the service chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the National Security Council meetings.
”The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence. Our intelligence-gathering must be improved.”
The president informed the governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China and the United States.
He, therefore, asked for patience on the part of the public because the new weapons and aircraft must be manned by trained fighters and pilots who must first receive appropriate training.
Buhari also expressed satisfaction with the level of support from neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism.
“They are cooperating with us. On Boko Haram, we are making progress with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon,” he said.
He, however, restated that intelligence-gathering must be improved to be able to track small arms in the northwest, north-central and northeast states.
The president also expressed satisfaction with the level of Naval activity in the Gulf of Guinea, using newly-acquired equipment.
The president, however, demanded that hard-to-reach areas of Lake Chad where Boko Haram terrorists have found new havens, as well as the forests now inhabited by bandits, must be accessed and rid of nefarious elements.
The governors also pointed to the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and played up their own security roles which included one billion dollars they allowed the president to withdraw from the excess crude account for weapons procurement two years ago.
The three-hour meeting was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies, and members of the security committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum represented by one governor from each of the six geo-political zones.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a former commissioner of police in Kaduna state, Abbey Agyole, blamed some of the security challenges on what he described as poor welfare and inadequate training of security operatives.
It was reported that Agyole disclosed this on Tuesday, August 11, during an interview on Channels Television.
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