…says performance on battlefield not good enough
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed dissatisfaction with the performances of the Service Chiefs in the counter-insurgency war and other security threats confronting Nigeria.
The President, who gave the verdict yesterday at a meeting with the Service Chiefs, warned that he would no longer tolerate excuses from them for failures and apparent inability of the Armed Forces to protect the territorial integrity of the country.
Buhari, who read the riot act to the Service Chiefs, reminded them that no one was forced on him, as he selected everyone individually based on what he felt were their track records.
He therefore warned them to live up to expectations in the discharge of their duties.
According to him, a lot of responsibility had been placed on their shoulders and it was extremely important that they do not disappoint the populace.
The meeting which held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa followed the rising spate of insecurity in the North-East where Boko Haram operates and North-West where armed bandits have unleashed a reign of serial massacres in recent weeks.
The Service Chiefs were led to the meeting by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin. On his entourage were the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Others at the meeting were the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd); Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Adamu; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President.
The NSA, who briefed newsmen after the meeting, said Buhari told the Service Chiefs that their best has not been good enough for the country.
The purpose of the parley, Monguno said, was for the President to receive updates on the operational heads of the security and intelligence agencies on the security situation across Nigeria.
“Today’s meeting basically focused on recent developments. Mr. President has expressed great concerns over the declining security situation in the country. He is extremely unhappy about what is happening and he feels that, even though the security agencies are doing their best, their best is not good enough for him and wants an immediate reversal of the current trend and immediate reversal of our misfortunes in all their dimensions.
“Mr. President also told us clearly in no uncertain terms, that he and indeed the administration campaigned to power on the platform of three issues, fighting insecurity, overcoming our economic difficulties and dealing with the scourge of corruption. More so, he noted that it takes common sense for anyone to understand that without security, the pursuit of the other two will just be an exercise in futility,” he said.
According to Monguno, the Service Chiefs were reminded of the wider implication of the gradual decent of the country into anarchy and urged not to allow any further escalation of the situation.
“He also pointed out the immediate areas of concern and these areas are also interlinked and we must find a way out, especially the issue of proliferation of drugs, small arms and light weapons.
“These two issues also go hand in hand with the major issues of criminality in this country, be there banditry on one hand in the North-West of Nigeria or terrorism in the North-East,” he said.
Munguno also disclosed that the meeting considered the nexus between activities of the kidnappers and the sale and use of unregistered SIM card in the country.
The President, he said, has directed the NSA to link up with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, to work out a blueprint to ensure the end of the irresponsible use of any SIM card.
In that light, the Inspector General of Police and Director General of DSS were also asked to lend helping hands to curb the menace.
It would also entail collaborating with the governors of North-West and North-Central states where most of the recent attacks have occurred.
“In the final analysis, Mr. President has said everyone is doing his best but the best is not good enough. That should send a signal to all of us. But again, it is also incumbent on the wider Nigerian population, to key into whatever the security agencies are doing.
“Understanding that there has been issue of loss of confidence, loss of trust, abuse or whatever, these issues will have to be addressed by a discussion between security agencies and the political leadership and of course the judiciary will come in,” he said.
Monguno reassured Nigerians that the security agencies would redouble their efforts to ensure a reversal of the dwindling fortunes of the nation in the area of security.
Monguno said that the president was highly disturbed on the issue of lack of synergy within the nation’s security sector.
“Mr. President is greatly disturbed about issues of a lack of synergy within the security sector.
“This has to be addressed and he has left us in no doubt.
“Unless we address this issue and form a single front, the convergence of efforts, the confluence of all ideas be that operational or intelligence, must be achieved.
“We must have a central platform to coordinate all the efforts, all operations and security.”