President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday queried security chiefs on how terrorists in the North East get arms, despite closure of the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
EyewitnessMedia gathered the President also debunked insinuations that insurgents operating within the country, especially Boko Haram, have more money and sophisticated weapons than government forces.
Buhari spoke as the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, urged him to consider a security “bail out” for the states, in view of the enormity of resources they commit in support of the military and the police.
This is even as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, yesterday asked the federal and Kaduna State governments to stop the current spate of killings in Southern Kaduna now.
Speaking at the virtual meeting with members of NGF Security Committee and heads of security agencies at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari called for improved intelligence sharing among different security agencies.
The three-hour meeting, attended by six governors, representing each of the six geopolitical zones, focused on the country’s security policies and approaches in tackling internal security challenges, with a charge that intelligence-gathering and sharing must be optimized for the nation to secure itself.
The meeting harped on the need for a joint strategy to bring various conflicts to an end within time limits, while field commanders would take measures to protect civilian communities as a confidence-building mechanism between the military and those communities.
The various stakeholders at the meeting said when the trust that had been lost between both parties was re-established, there would be improved cooperation in intelligence-gathering and sharing.
The meeting also agreed that poverty and youth unemployment were at the root of the nationwide security challenges, and needed to be addressed with greater vigour by all tiers of government.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President used the opportunity to dispel commonly held assumptions that terrorists in the North-East have far more weapons and money than government, and that what is left of them are “mere scaveng-ers desperate for food, raiding shops and mar-kets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”