The Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), on Monday, declared that the country was under critical security threat following resurging terrorists’ attacks, banditry and abductions across the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Authority FCT Abuja.
The minister made the declaration in Abuja while speaking at a National Defence and Security Summit organized by the Defence Headquarters with the theme “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency in Nigeria.”
He pointed out that the security challenges require the support and collaboration of the civilian populace and critical stakeholders in the national task of securing the country.
According to him, “we are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task.
“This is important to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.”
Gen Magashi stated that the summit was timely as it was coming at a sobering time in the life of the nation.
According to him, “a time, when merchants of violence are threatening to tear the very foundations of our nation; a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all sub-national entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern
“Physical insecurity in Nigeria expectedly has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security. Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development and social inequalities. Others are food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation. These indicate the multi-dimensional nature of national insecurity.”
He, however, said that to arrest the ugly development, the Federal Government had taken a series of measures that were already paying off.
Account to him, “in view of these realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has over the years applied a multi-lateral approach with our contiguous neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts domestically. In Southern Nigeria, the security approach includes, but not limited to: the convening of various stakeholder dialogues in the Niger Delta; mounting of Single-Service, Joint and Special Task Forces; establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta; declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant Niger Delta militants; proscription of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); and the establishment of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre Zone E in the Gulf of Guinea.
“In Northern Nigeria, the security instruments applied include, but also not limited to: the mounting of different Single Service, Joint and Special Task Forces such as Operations Lafiya Dole, Safe Haven and Hadarin Daji; the mounting of the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) with neighbouring nations and operational collaboration with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
“Other areas of intervention are the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative on humanitarian interventions, transformational and development efforts; the establishment of the North East Development Commission as well as strategic and operational collaboration with the Safe Schools Initiative; a global coalition to protect schools. These efforts have been backed by enormous resource provisions through budgetary appropriations and special interventions.
“I wish to state with a sense of responsibility and without any exaggeration that the results of these efforts have been mixed.
“Although the territories of the Niger Delta have recorded relative peace in recent times, there are manifest threats in the littorals and the prognosis show potential threats of resurgent militancy. In all other areas, there are causes for serious national security concerns, ranging from terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflicts, ethno/religious conflicts and lately kidnapping and banditry
“The Federal Government has inalienable responsibilities to provide security to the people and territories of Nigeria and would not shirk on these responsibilities.
“The Federal Government is therefore single-mindedly committed to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security of the nation. We will therefore leave no stone unturned to deliver on these national aspirations and values.
“Admittedly, the presidential directive to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies underscores the use all the instruments of power to stabilize the security situation in the nation and provide good governance as well as promote peace, stability and development. The focused and objective use of kinetic operations therefore becomes very obvious.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in league with strategic Ministries Departments and Agencies are critical to this security initiative. It is in this light that I consider this National Defence and Security Summit organized by the DHQ as both apt and timely.”
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said that there was no cause for concern as the Armed Forces of Nigeria under his leadership was making frantic efforts to restore sanity in all the nooks and crannies of the country as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, “it is no longer news that the nation experiences a wide range of national security threats including terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflict, ethnoreligious conflicts, kidnapping and banditry, These threats pose immediate and present danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of the nation.
“Consequently, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force of Nigeria (AFN), President Muhammadu Buhari has given a clear mandate for action. I am sure not a few of our guests and participants at this summit will be wondering why the DHQ is organizing this summit rather than overseeing operations at the different theatres.
“First and foremost, let me state clearly that as a result of the presidential directive the Armed Forces of Nigeria is already seized with actions to immediately stabilize the situation.
“The specific objectives of the summit are to create functional awareness of the rationale for the kinetic efforts; promote buy-in and support of crucial stakeholders in the polity, promote viable Civil-Military Reasons (CMR) structures in support of the kinetic effort.”
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