National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu has said measures adopted by the federal government in tackling the nation’s insecurity were yielding the right results.
Ribadu spoke Thursday at the 19th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) themed: “Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media”, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
But the Senate appears not convinced by the efforts at tackling insecurity, and therefore asked the service chiefs to appear before it and explain the measures being taken to nip them in the bud.
Irrespective the lawmakers’ position, the NSA pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government, whose administration, he said, talks less but does more.
The NSA broke the security challenges into four namely; Boko Haram in the Northeast, banditry in the Northwest/central, killings in the Southeast, as well as oil theft and bunkering in the Niger Delta.
While saying he was not condemning anyone, the security chief said the reality is that the present administration inherited tough times, adding that “what the country needs is the cooperation of all to ensure the federal government eliminates all forms of insecurity in the country.”
Ribadu, however, said there had been remarkable improvement in the security situation of the nation, stressing that all hands must be on deck to surmount the menace of insecurity challenges.
“We are all in this together, as a National Security Adviser, you want to hear about national security. We have been there about five months few days into office. We have given Nigeria to President Bola Tinubu to manage it for us.
“In the last five months, I have been there by his side and have seen how things were and how things are when we started and hopefully the direction we are going and is okay.
“We inherited tough period. We appeal for patience and understanding. It’s tough times and that is the reality. We are not condemning anyone but that is the truth. Those who are in charge must say the truth, say it as it is and then hopefully things will be better for you.
“Like I said, my coming is to identify with you. I also appeal to you for support, we are going through tough times. It requires all of us to come together. We are all in it together; it is not going to be for too long. Is a matter of time, it will be better,” Ribadu said.
The NSA further said there had been a lot of improvement in the security challenges confronting the country, stressing that militancy in the Niger Delta had been reduced drastically from what it used to be.
He disclosed that the insecurity in the Southeast had also been reduced since this administration came on board, appealing that it would get better.
Ribadu said: “By the 1st of June, 2023 when we took over, we have four acute security challenges including Boko Haram and Islamic insurgency; the crisis and oil theft in the Niger Delta; banditry and kidnapping; and violence in the South-East. Each of these four massive problems is capable of bringing the nation to its knees.
“I assure you that the President and his team are working round the clock to solve the security problems. It (insecurity) is something that will take a while to confront but we will end it. We are getting it right and as a matter of fact, it will be better. The leadership we have today in our country works more and talk less.
“Most of the time, we don’t want what we have put in place or done to go out because we have bad people we are fighting. Opening the book will undermine what we are planning.
“As at the time we took off, the nation’s crude oil production was between 1.1m bpd and 1.2m bpd. We had less than 20 cargoes exporting a month. Today, the crude oil production is about 1.7m bpd and the export of crude cargoes is over 26 or 27. So, Nigeria’s OPEC quota is 1.8m bpd and we are hitting 1.7m bpd. By next year, we want to go to over 2m bpd.
“For three weeks, we have been without incident of violence in the Niger Delta. As a nation, if you do not earn money, you are doomed. That is the direction we are going. We want to keep the nation safe for peace and economic development.
“We want this nation to survive; we want it to be back on the track of recovery and the path of development.”
…Banditry and kidnapping
Speaking on banditry and kidnapping, Ribadu said: “When we got on up till last week, almost 600 people were released especially in the North-West. The organised kidnapping we had in the past has come down.
“Around this time last year, armed gangsters were making life difficult for Nigerians in the North-West. People’s lives were turned upside down. For 10 years, there was no life in some communities. They could not go to farms, their children couldn’t go to schools, they had no access to hospitals. We have been able to reverse this trend.
“Now, you can drive at night from Kaduna to Abuja. Since the beginning of this year, there was not a single incident. Yes, it is happening. This is just half way of restoring peace to our country.”
Citing similar developments in the United Kingdom, he said: ” Last year, the United Kingdom had 400 cases, Mexico recorded 8,000 cases and Brazil about 8,000 cases. The cases that are closer to us are the ones we feel. We are not giving excuses, we are working hard to end banditry and kidnapping. We are working to give you the best you CAN imagine.”
…Boko Haram/S/east killing
On Boko Haram, the NSA said: “Until recently in the last three weeks, there were less than four incidents.”
“We are working round the clock to make the South-East safe. Last year, 46 police stations were attacked. Today, we don’t have a single one attacked. In the last two months, not a single person was killed because of the measures we have put in place. The challenge of keeping people away from work and daily economic activities is coming down,” he said.
While rating the Tinubu government higher than its predecessor in the area of transparency, Ribadu declared: “This government is one of the most transparent governments in the history of Nigeria. We will open up and be sincere. We intend to do things publicly. Mr. President is very accountable, we will open up, we will be sincere. I put an average of 18 hours into this work every day I will never lie to you, I will say it as it is.”
He also clarified the controversy around yacht in the 2024 budget, saying, “this government has nothing to do with it; has nothing to do with buying yacht. It is part of some of the things we inherited.”
…Senate summons security chiefs
Meanwhile, the Senate Thursday summoned security chiefs over the rising security challenges across the country.
It specifically resolved to invite the Service Chiefs to brief it in a closed session on steps taken to mitigate rising spate of insecurity.
Senate resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua (APC Katsina Central).
In the motion, Senator Yar’Adua sought for coordination and synergy between Nigerian Security Forces for potent war against insecurity in the nation , and said the fight against insurgencies and other novel security crises requires the collaboration of all the relevant security agencies and MDAs.
He said: “Nigeria has various security agencies aside the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force. These include the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other authorised Civilian Task Forces.
“Nigeria has other key security services that oversee both internal and external threats: the Department of State Service, the Defence Intelligence Agency, and the National Intelligence Agency.”
He lamented that “Nigeria was facing numerous simultaneous security crises which according to him , include the Boko Haram in the North- East; the activities of bandits and kidnappers in the North-west; the activities of gunmen in the South-east and South-south; and other forms of criminality like armed robbery, herders/farmers clashes and cross-border crimes.”
He chronicled incidences such as the “kidnapping of Major General RC Duru in Owerri, Imo State on 27th September 2023 by members of IPOB, five people killed on the 3rd of October 2023, at Anguwar Dankali community in the Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, 50 people including a district head , adopted on the 18th of October ,2023 by bandits in Bagga, a mining village in Zamfara State etc , as the worrisome state of insecurity facing the Nation.”
Virtually all the senators who contributed to debate on the motion , urged the Senate to summon the security chiefs for way out of the menace.
Notwithstanding the summon, the Senate however commended the security forces and agencies in Nigeria for the ongoing efforts at arresting the menace.
The Red Chamber also urged the security agencies to improve and enhance their inter-operational synergy and coordination for the effective and holistic tackling of the various types of insecurity plaguing the nation.
It called for a National Security Policy document outlining the framework for an improved and streamlined synergy and coordination between the various security agencies and embark on joint training to enhance their capabilities and effectiveness in dealing with all forms of security challenges bedeviling our dear nation.