Insurgency war: Nigeria expecting weapons from US, others – Buhari

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As the war against insurgency intensifies, President Muhammadu Buhari hassaid that more weapons and fighter aircraft were being expected from the United States, China and Jordan.

The president stated this at a virtual meeting with the security committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

The forum was represented by one governor from each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

The representative governors were Messrs Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Babagana Zulum (Borno), David Umahi (Ebonyi) and Duoye Diri (Beyelsa).

While the military hardware was being expected, the president prayed Nigerians to be patient and not to expect a dramatic change in the ongoing efforts to combat insurgency because fighters and pilots to operate the new weapons and aircraft must first be trained.

Buhari dismissed assumptions that Boko Haram was better equipped and funded than the armed forces.

The clarification came barely 24 hours after he had blamed the lingering insecurity challenges in the northeast on lean resources of the federal government, which he said had been compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19.

He maintained that the Nigerian military has greater resources to fight the terrorists even though they may need more.

However, Buhari expressed concern that despite the closure of borders with neighbouring countries, bandits and terrorists continued to have access to small weapons.

“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms?”

“We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations. I am glad that there is better synergy and cooperation, which are very important.

“I have directed the service chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the national security council meetings.

“The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence. Our intelligence-gathering must be improved,” he said.

Nevertheless, the president expressed satisfaction with the level of support from neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism.

“They are cooperating with us. On Boko Haram, we are making progress with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon,” he said. 

He said intelligence-gathering must improve to be able to track small arms in the northwest, north central and northeast states.

Besides, he expressed satisfaction with the level of naval activities in the Gulf of Guinea, using newly-acquired equipment.

But, he said  that hard-to-reach areas of Lake Chad where Boko Haram terrorists have found new havens must be combed by troops.

He ordered that the forests now inhabited by bandits must be accessed and rid of nefarious elements.

“The chief of defence staff has spoken about their study of the forests and their potential danger to security. We must make sure we follow the bandits and terrorists, but there must not be deforestation in view of the climate situation,” he added.

During the meeting, the governors demanded security bailout from the president, citing the $1 billion they allowed him to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to procure weapons as a justifiable reason for their demand.

The governors’ demand was contained in statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu.

Shehu said the governors told the president about their contributions to fight insecurity and therefore urged the president to appreciate their gesture by giving “security bailout” to the 36 states to enable them to address the enormous security challenges confronting the states.

The statement added that during the submissions of the governors, coordinated by NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the governors listed factors fuelling insecurity in the country to include poverty, unemployment, the trust deficit between the military and civilians as well as the inflow of small arms into the country.

“In their submissions anchored by their chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, the governors highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, trust deficit between the military and civilian populations and the inflow of small arms into the country.

“The governors also pointed to the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and played up their own security roles, which included $1 billion they allowed the president to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account for weapons procurement two years ago.

“They, therefore, urged the president to consider a “bailout” for security for the states in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police,” the statement added.

Also present at the meeting were vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; secretary to the government of the federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.); and the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

Security chiefs at the meeting were Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (who was represented); Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; the inspector general of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu; and the director general, Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi.

Also present were the director-general, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ahmed Rufa’I; Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency, Air Vice Marshall Muhammed Usman; minister of defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.); and the minister of police affairs, Mr. Maigari Dingyadi.

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