President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said his administration has done well in the North-east, the scene of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Tens of thousands of Nigerians have been killed and millions displaced since the Boko Haram insurgency broke out in 2014 in Borno State before spreading to other states.
Although Nigeria’s security agencies have largely limited the insurgents to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, the terrorists are still able to attack civilians and security officials in those states.
On two occasions this year, the terrorists attacked the convoy of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.
In one of the most gruesome of its recent attacks, the group last week killed over 43 farmers harvesting rice in Zabarmari in Borno.
The killing of the farmers has been condemned by rights activists and international bodies, including the United Nations, who have all implored the government to intensify efforts to check terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
However, at a meeting with state governors on Tuesday, the president said his administration has done well in the North-east and South-south.
This was disclosed in a statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu.
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“Giving an overview of the security situation in each of the zones, the president said his administration had done well in the North East and South South, adding that the South South situation was still worrisome,” Mr Shehu wrote.
“The President, who listened to presentations by a governor from each of the six geo-political zones on their specific security challenges, recalled that in the old order communities identified new comers and passed information to constituted authority.
“The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals. Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering,” Mr Buhari was quoted as saying.
“Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations,” Mr Buhari spoke on the situation in the South-south.
President Buhari also said “security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.’’
He further explained that the nation’s land borders were closed partly to control the smuggling of weapons and drugs.
“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.’’
President Buhari said the military will continue to get the support they need to fight criminals.