By Williams Anuku, Abuja
Indications emerged on Tuesday, that President Muhammadu Buhari may have finally taken a decision to restructure the country’s security apparatus, going by unending security challenges bedeviling the country.
National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno gave a clue to this latest moves, after a security council meeting which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Among those that attended the meeting were the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd).
Others were the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Also present were the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, the Director General of National, Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Bichi, the Director General, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Rufa’i, and the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
Some cabinet members that also graced the meeting were the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi and the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.
Monguno said the President reminded the service chiefs of his previous matching orders given to them, even as insecurity continues to escalate daily.
When State House Correspondents asked the NSA how the President reacted, especially in regards to the matching order to improve safety of lives and property, he had this to say, “What he said today was virtually a reaffirmation of what he said the first time. Yes Mr President said you are doing your best, as far as I’m concerned, but there’s still a lot more to be done. I’m more concerned about the promise we made to the larger Nigerian society and I am ordering an immediate re-engineering of the entire security apparatus. This is something that I believe will be done in a very short time, but I just want us to keep hope alive.
“I know how everybody feels, I know how Nigerians feel, definitely the President is not oblivious of the fact that securing the nation is a primary responsibility of government and I believe in his sincerity, but again, since he’s not an octopus, since he’s not a spirit, if he delegates to people, then the onus is on them to actually fulfil the legitimate expectations of the larger Nigerian society.
“Basically these are operational matters that are best dealt with by the Minister of Defense. I know that there’s something that he’s working on, which has led to this meeting being delayed slightly.
“This meeting was actually supposed to take place before the Sallah holiday, but I think one or two things have come up that I don’t think I can explain, but I want you to be comfortable that something is being done, following that marching order.
“Kaduna is again a political matter and I think the governor of Kaduna State has been talking with Mr President and I’m not privy to the final details”.
Asked to comment on the recent alleged insurgent attack on the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, especially the conspiracy theory it has elicited.
He said, “just like you have seen things on the social media here, again I don’t know the final details of what happened, but I know that the governor will meet with Mr President to discuss whatever led to the incident and the debacle. What I know, however, is that in another 30 minutes from now, we are going to have a virtual meeting with the Governors’ Forum.
“My name sake has already told me that he’s coming for the meeting, it’s only after that meeting that I can really be able to understand the nitty gritty of what happened, but like you said, it’s unfortunate and I believe we’ll get over this issue”.
The NSA also x-rayed the menace of hard drug substances in the country and the impact it was having in the social fabric.
According to him, Nigeria has graduated from a transit to a production hub for drug substances.
His words, “I presented two memos. The first had to do with drug trafficking as well as drug addiction in Nigeria and the widespread use of these substances and the dangerous impact on our social, economic situation.
” Thereafter, I briefed on the security situation in the northwest and the north central, in terms of looking at the issue of kidnapping, banditry and brandied killing of innocent people. After I presented these two memos, the Chief of Defence Staff, Army, Chief, Inspector General of Police, heads of the various intelligence agencies also gave synopsis each of the current security situation and what their various organizations and agencies are doing about these situations.
“But on the issues of drug trafficking and abuse of drugs, basically, what I told council was that this has taken on a worrisome dimension. Nigeria’s perception on the drug trafficking index has changed from the status from a transit hub to a production center.
“Between 2011 and 2019, approximately 17 manufacturing laboratories of methamphetamine substances were located by the various security agencies and destroyed. That is a large number. At the same we have had increasing activities of illegal cultivators of Canabis in Nigeria.
“These people basically use extremely large space of arable land to cultivate this illegal substance, employing militia men to protect their farms and also their storage facilities. When you look at drugs, our main concern as security operatives, is the ultimate destruction to the social fabric and economy of the nation.”