Former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) has called on the federal government to equip the military with modern weapons, train them on how to deploy same to decisively resolve insecurity across Nigeria.
Speaking on a BBC Hausa programme monitored Sunday in Kaduna, General Babangida said the Nigerian military was doing a lot to address the multifarious security challenges such as banditry, kidnapping and insurgency, while calling on Nigerians to rally behind them to find lasting solutions to the menace.
Babangida said he was proffering advice to government quietly on the insecurity ravaging the country, which has crept into Niger state, believing the issue would soon be resolved once the right thing is done.
He said it has become necessary for citizens and government to synergise and work together.
On whether the Nigerian soldiers needed modern weapons, he said: “Yes, they do. They also need to be trained on how to use the modern weapons, not to get weapons and just hand over to them. They should be trained.
“It is important to rally round the soldiers and other security agents, support them and let them know the citizens are behind them. Provide them with all they require and let them know this is their country; they have no other country better than this.
“This problem of insecurity, every government had its experience but if we unite we will overcome it. I remember how we fought the civil war for three years, the people supported the government, the government did its best, bought what was necessary, those who fought were made to understand that this country is the best for them.
“It’s not only in Nigeria, many countries encountered this kind of problem, some had it for 10 years but through concerted effort, they are out of it. I believe we can get out of this problem.
“We should unite; we should support those in power. We are all working towards achieving the same goal. Between the leaders and citizens, we need peace and a harmonious relationship. Both citizens and those governing are trying, but we should know that it is not an easy task.”
Speaking on whether Nigerian politicians were playing the desired role in bringing an end to insecurity, IBB said “there are many things they’ve to put right. If they agree to sit down and think over, I believe success will be achieved.”
Meanwhile, gunmen at the weekend killed four people in Yelewta community of Guma local government area of Benue state.
It was gathered that three of the four deceased were killed by gunmen suspected to be herders while the fourth was allegedly felled by a stray bullet of security agencies in a bid to contain the protest which broke out following the killings of the trio.
It was learnt that protesters poured into the main road linking Makurdi to Lafia when the news of the trio killed in their farm filtered into Yelewta – a rural Benue community bordering Nasarawa state.
The local government council chairman, Mr Caleb Aba, told Blueprint that angry youth had blocked the highway to protest the killing of the three teenagers who went to cultivate their farm following the onset of rainy season.
Aba said the killing of the teenagers by suspected herders angered the youth of Yelewta so much that they barricaded the highway with the deceased corpses, making it difficult for motorists to ply the route.
He explained that the development led to the intervention of security agencies, including the Police, soldiers of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) and traditional rulers at the scene as they tried to calm the protesters to unblock the road.
“Sadly in an attempt to disperse the angry youth who were resisting, there was a shot by the security agencies and unfortunately, one of the protesters was hit by a bullet and killed,” he said.
The council chairman added that he was already making burial arrangement for the four corpses to be interred.
Aba however noted that normalcy had returned to Yelewta community after the chaos and villagers now going about their businesses.
Contacted, the Police spokesperson, DSP Catherine Anene, did not respond to calls or text messages put through to her telephone line on the development.
In a related development, gunmen Sunday set a divisional police headquarters in Nsukwa community in Aniocha South local government area of Delta state ablaze.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and two sergeants who were the main casualties were allegedly killed and set ablaze by the gunmen.
It was gathered that the attackers stormed the station at about 2am shooting sporadically to ward off challenges.
Residents of the community confirmed that it was the intense shooting that woke them up from sleep.
“Everybody was afraid following the shooting, it was later we heard that the police station was attacked,” a resident in the agrarian community said.
All efforts to get the reaction of the state police command, proved abortive.