A major restructuring of the country’s security architecture by President Muhammadu Buhari is in the offing, according to the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno ( retd.).
This is as a result of the worsening insecurity in the country, particularly the resurgence in attacks by Boko Haram, banditry and kidnapping.
The President also gave more marching orders to heads of security agencies to devise workable solutions to the security situation urgently.
Monguno spoke on the President’s plans after Tuesday’s National Security Council meeting presided over by Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
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He told State House Correspondents that Buhari did not mince words at the meeting by telling all heads of security agencies that he was not impressed. He asked them to review their strategies immediately.
Monguno added that the meeting found out that the challenges were mainly operational, which the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, had been directed to work on urgently.
He did not dwell on the specifics of what Magashi had been directed to work on, but spoke generally.
The NSA said, “Basically, these are operational matters that are best dealt with by the Minister of Defence.
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“I know that there is something that he is working on, which has led to this meeting being delayed slightly. This meeting was actually supposed to take place before the Sallah holiday, but I think one or two things have come up that I don’t think I can explain, but I want you to be comfortable that something is being done, following that marching order.”
He painted graphic details of Buhari’s reactions at the meeting to the worsening insecurity.
The NSA went on, “What he (Buhari) said today was virtually a re-affirmation of what he said the first time. Yes, Mr President said you are doing your best, as far as I am concerned, but there is still a lot more to be done. I am more concerned about the promise we made to the larger Nigerian society and I am ordering an immediate re-engineering of the entire security apparatus.
“This is something that I believe will be done in a very short time, but I just want us to keep hope alive.
“I know how everybody feels, I know how Nigerians feel; definitely the President is not oblivious of the fact that securing the nation is a primary responsibility of government. I believe in his sincerity, but again, since he is not an octopus, since he is not a spirit, if he delegates to people, then the onus is on them to actually fulfil the legitimate expectations of the larger Nigerian society.”
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He said the meeting also found that hard drugs contributed to the wave of killings in the country.
Monguno noted that the manner of some attacks on defenceless victims only proved that the bandits and kidnappers were not acting with their normal senses.
He spoke more, “If you look at the criminality, the colouration of each crime, especially kidnapping, banditry and terrorism; it is not the killing of the people but the way people are killed, goes to show one thing -It is extremely abnormal and inhuman. These acts can only be perpetrated by people who are out of their mind.
“One thing we in the security and intelligence arm have been able to trace, is that there are certain drugs of choice that have saturated the entire landscape of the country.
“These drugs basically are condeine, opiums, cocaine, tramadol and pertamines and of course, cannabis sativa. The popular drug of choice is tramadol; it is easily acquired. Tramadol has been the drug of choice for terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
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He disclosed that Buhari informed the security heads that Nigerians were losing confidence in them, adding that he owed the people the duty to restore the confidence by ensuring that new strategies were introduced.
The service chiefs in particular have been in office since 2015.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Service chiefs who attended the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and the Chief of the Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Other security heads were the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.); Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, were also in attendance.
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The Council is the highest executive organ overseeing security matters in the country, with the President presiding. It holds routines meetings.
Security heads, in line with tradition, took turns to brief the council on the security situation in the country as it relates to the agencies they head, the challenges and the efforts being made to address them.
As the NSC meeting ended, another meeting between Buhari and state governors got under way, according to Monguno.
The agenda was also on insecurity in the states.
The recent attack on the convoy of the Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, jolted the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, a reason they sought to meet with the President to examine the rising killings in the states.