Troops neutralise 9,300 terrorists, arrest over 7,000 in one year


Minister of Defence Mohammad Badaru has said the emphasis by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu  on the synergy among security agencies was responsible for improved security across the country in the past one year.

Badaru, who stated this during a ministerial press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation in Abuja, Thursday,  said the military, in synergy with other security agencies, had eliminated several terrorists and bandits, and arrested several others, while over 100,000 terrorists had also surrendered to the troops.

“Because of the synergy, we were able to neurtralise more than 9,300 terrorists and bandits in the last one year. We arrested over 7000 and rescued more than 4,641 victims of kidnap. We have also recovered 4,482 and 83,900 assorted ammunition.

“Among those that we nuetralised are bandit leaders and commanders that commanded hundreds of foot soldiers. We have neutralized more than 20 commanders commanding thousands of insurgents and terrorists,” he said.

Badaru said the synergy was also responsible for improved oil production in the Niger Delta region.

He said the huge allocation to Defence in the 2023 budget by President Tinubu did not only help them to procure and upgrade a lot of equipment for the Armed Forces to fight terrorism and other form of criminalities, but also enhanced “our efficiency and has boosted the troops morals, through improved welfare.’

He said: “The president supported the Armed Forces with a lot of welfare packages, their salaries and allowances are paid as at when due. It is being funded adequately to take care of the troops and also to provide for their accommodation and provide for their training. And that has helped us to boost the morale of our troops heavily.

“We have been working also with regional security agencies and neighbouring countries to improve the security situation. For instance, just recently our troops conducted Operation Desert Sanity III in conjunction with troops of the Republic of Chad, Cameroon, and the Benin Republic. This shows how we collaborate with neighbouring states to fight insurgency.

“They killed many terrorists, many weapons recovered and many hostages were rescued. I’m sure you have seen a lot in the news. This shows that the collaborations that we have with our neighbours have been efficient and helped us to reduce the impact of small arms.”

…On security and oil

Speaking on how military operations had improved oil production, the minister said troops, through several operations in the past one year, destroyed several illegal refineries and seized millions of litres of crude oil from oil thieves.

“Today, most of the illegal refineries are down, while major vessels used for stealing crude oil have been arrested.

“In the period under review, the military destroyed 3,051 pits used for illegal cruel production, 1,276 boats, 3,924 storage facilities and 2716 cooking overs.”

The minister said the signing of the DICON Bill had helped improve the production of locally manufactured equipment to fight terrorism and other criminalities.

He said with the help of the Bill, Nigeria was in discussion with over 50 private companies, both within and abroad, in the area of production of weapons and other military equipment.

“In fact, 13 of them have already started production or are about to start production,” he said.

Steel development 

Similarly, as part of the renewed hope agenda of the present administration, the minister of steel development, Prince Shaibu Audu, said advance discussions were underway for Ajaokuta Steel Company to produce military hardware when it becomes fully functional.

The minister stated this Thursday in Abuja while presenting the scorecards of his ministry as part of the one-year anniversary of the Tinubu administration.

Talks to that effect, he said, had commenced with the ministers of defence as the ministry works to revive the entire steel industry in line with the mandate given to the ministry.

“We have engaged with both Ministers Matawalle and Badaru to use part of the engineering workshops in Ajaokuta to start producing military hardware in order to enhance our security architecture. We have the technological centres that can produce some of those military hardware like helmets, bulletproof vests and others.

Also as part of the achievements of the ministry, Audu said talks were underway with the Ministry o Works to produce iron rods for road construction in the country instead of the massive importation of rods from overseas.

“We understand that the Ministry of Works needs about seven metric tonnes of iron annually. Ajaokuta can produce 400,000 metric tonnes to stop what we spend huge amount of money to buy from abroad.”

The sector, he said, was capable of contributing to the realisation of one trillion dollars economy as directed by the president.

That is why, according to him, the ministry “has opened talks with the original builders of the complex to return and complete it even if it would be on a public/private arrangement with some of the assets used as collaterals.”

At the moment, he said the complex which was 98 percent completed as at 1979, had deteriorated over the years, adding “there is a need to do a comprehensive audit of the whole project even as he also announced that an arrangement is on with power companies like Niger Delta Power Holdings, Transcorp Power and Reticulated Global Engineering for collaboration on energy source.”

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