Security appraisal under President Tinubu

In an apparent self-appraisal, Nigeria’s security apparatchik last week reeled out its achievements in the last one year of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration. This was in contrast to the senate resolution asking Mr President to carry out critical review of security strategies for better ways of combatting the problem of insecurity in the country.

Director of Defence Media Operations Major-General Edward Buba, who spoke on behalf of the security and intelligence agencies coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under the auspices of the strategic communications interagency policy committee, listed the achievements during a press briefing in Abuja.

The representatives present at the briefing included the spokespersons of the ONSA, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Air Force, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corruption and Other Related Offences Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Director of State Services, Defence Media Operations, Nigeria Immigration Service, and National Intelligence Agency.

On the achievements of the ONSA, Buba said the office, during the period under review, successfully hosted the High-Level Africa Counter-Terrorism Meeting, which brought together African heads of government, including President Tinubu, who served as the host president, the UN deputy secretary-general, and leaders of other key global bodies.

He said: “These discussions focused on stability in the Sahel region and garnered significant commitments to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
Relatedly, the Office facilitated the second leg of the UK-Nigeria security and defence dialogue, bringing together security and defence chiefs from both countries. Additionally, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the ONSA initiated a series of economic security measures against currency manipulators and speculators.”

In the area of defence, he said, troops killed 9,303 terrorists, arrested 6,998 criminals, and rescued 4,641 kidnap victims in the past one year. General Buba said 9,562 Boko Haram/ISWAP combatant fighters and their families surrendered to security forces.

“In the fight against oil theft, 1,437 perpetrators were apprehended, with 363 neutralized. Additionally, 245 kidnapped hostages were rescued, leading to a marked decrease in insurgent activities,” he said.

The defence spokesperson said that enhanced maritime security by the Nigerian Navy through increased patrols and international collaborations resulted to a reduction in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.

On the achievements of the Nigeria Police Force, the defence spokesperson said the police arrested 4,796 armed robbery suspects, 3,068 kidnap suspects, 2,474 suspects for rape/sexual crimes, 1,213 suspects for unlawful possession of firearms, 3,523 suspected cultists, 3,381 suspects for murder/homicide, and 13,382 suspects for other offences.

He said the police also rescued 1,713 kidnapped victims, recovered 2,566 firearms, 19,310 rounds of ammunition, and 1,465 vehicles/motorcycles.

On the achievements of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the past one year, Buba said the anti-crime agency secured 3,412 convictions and recovered N161,642,239,242.30, $43,835,214.24, £25,365.00, €186,947.10 and 21,580,867.631 Crypto Currency, among others.

He said: “Key achievements and initiatives of ICPC include the recovery and forfeiture of assets, recovering over N66 billion in cash and rent on forfeited assets. Assets worth N5.882 billion were restrained, and N366.97 million was forfeited through judicial processes. Investigations and prosecutions saw 131 investigations and 18 convictions.”

However, the senate, in its resolution, specifically called on President Tinubu to direct a thorough review and evaluation of the strategies employed by security agencies in the North-west and North-central geo-political zones that are currently the epicentre of banditry and kidnapping in the country.

The resolutions followed a motion titled, “urgent need to review security approach in addressing banditry attacks in Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna and Kebbi states in the North-west of Nigeria, sponsored by Senator Nasiru Sani Zangon Daura (APC, Katsina North) and co-sponsored by 13 other senators from the North-west, which was amended to include the North-central zone.

It further urged President Tinubu to direct the establishment of a task force to evaluate the effectiveness and implications of negotiating with bandits, conducting a thorough analysis of the short-term gains versus the long-term consequences of such actions.

As a matter of fact, the Tinubu government’s fight against insecurity deserves a pass mark, considering the complex situation it inherited from its predecessor. Nevertheless, the president should address the concerns raised by the senate, chiefly because the protection of lives and property of the people is the primary purpose of government.