The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, has said President Muhammadu Buhari has given heads of security agencies a marching order to end banditry and other forms of insecurity in the country.

Mr Magashi made this known on Tuesday while briefing journalists after a security meeting with the President.

The President earlier in the day received briefings from the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, and other heads of security agencies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Also at the meeting were the Ministers of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

The attendees briefed the president on the current security situation across the country as well as proffered solutions, top of which were issues surrounding banditry in the North-west and North-central zones.

Many states in the two zones have been ravaged by activities of bandits who kidnap citizens for ransom and kill at will.

To curtail their excesses, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had ordered telecom operators to suspend their networks in Zamfara State which is considered a strong base of the terrorists.

The development followed the suspension of weekly markets and other drastic measures in the adjoining troubled North-west and North central states to check activities of bandits in the regions.

Following the development, and spike in military onslaught on their hideouts, bandits have intensified attacks in Zamfara and Katsina, looting shops to stockpile foodstuff while the measures remain in place.

‘We are capable’

Speaking on the recent military offensive in Zamfara, Mr Magashi stated that the military was capable of putting an end to the menace.

He said there was a need to urgently put an end to the banditry in the regions in order to end the indiscriminate killings going on.

He enjoined Nigerians to collaborate with security agents to fish out the terrorists.

“This meeting was called in order to keep the C-in-C abreast on the current happening in the North-west and North-central, in respect of the improvements, problems and any other thing associated with the insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and the rest of it,” the minister said.

“From the meeting, we believe that the spate at which these things are happening in Zamfara State and North-central is a source of concern to the government and to all agencies that are responsible for the execution of the operations in the North-central.

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“We discussed the need for urgency in our dealing with the bandits. We believe they are becoming a nuisance; killing people. They are doing what they like, they make careless statements, they say what they think they should say in order to solicit the kind of audience they want from the society.”

Mr Magashi said the security agents “have gone a long way in keeping the country together”, adding that “they are doing better compared to what it was during the previous administration”.

“If one looks back, prior to our coming, 2014, you’ll find that there is a lot of improvement, but people are not seeing it anymore.

“They believe probably we are incapable or there is something which we don’t know, but we are trying to find out why people are not appreciating the efforts of government.

“We have appraised our position. We have found that we are capable. We can do this thing, but we need the cooperation of every Nigerian in order to ensure a free society.

“Security, as far as this country is concerned, is the paramount important thing in this country, without security, nothing will happen and the Commander in Chief has emphasised this today that without security, nothing can go.

“So, he has directed us to find ways, tactics and style with which we can get out of this (insecurity) and we assured him that we will do our best to ensure the mission is successful.

“We will do all we can to ensure the completion of this mission, especially when equipment and other things are available to support the course of our tactical manoeuvres and that we will do very well from now,” the minister said.


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