Criminal activities are on the wane, National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu said yesterday.
He spoke after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu highlighted the conditions for winning the war against terror and safeguarding the country.
“There is work to be done,” the President told the service chiefs, who were led to a meeting with him at Aso Villa, the seat of government in Abuja.
To succeed in the security tasks, President Tinubu advised the security chiefs to work as a team and make a solid resolution to deliver on their mandates.
Before the president came on board, the country had been battling with the insurgency by the Boko Haram sect, kidnapping for ransom, killings by unknown gunmen and other forms of crime and violence across the country.
President Tinubu, who held a serious discussion with the service chiefs, assured them of his support at all times.
At the meeting with the president were the Chief of Defence Staff Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa, Chief of Army Staff Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar, Chief of Defence Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Undiandeye, and the Acting Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun.
Former Zamfara State Governor Sani Yerima, who also visited the president separately, said he discussed with him the option of dialogue with bandits terrorising the North.
Ribadu, who spoke with reporters after the meeting, reiterated the team’s commitment to peace and stability in the country.
The NSA said apart from thanking the President for availing them the opportunity to serve, they also received instructions on what the President expects of them.
He said: “We’re here to thank Mr. President for the opportunity he gave us to serve our country and to serve his government.
“We also pledged our loyalty to him, Nigeria and Nigerians. We believe the choice he made is the right one, the correct one, and we know what he wants for this country.
“We’re going to work tirelessly to ensure that we accomplish that objective of securing our country, establishing peace, stability and let’s get our lives back.
“He assured us that he’s with us 100 per cent. He told us that we must work as a team; that there’s work to be done, and he expects us to deliver and we’re grateful for the opportunity. That’s why we are here.”
On what the service chiefs are bringing to the job, the NSA said though they face a big task, “it is going to be done, insha Allah”.
Ribadu stressed: “Where we are today, you can see already things are improving in our country.
“If you see the record of crimes and activities of criminals are going down, it will continue to go down.
“We’ll secure this place. Nigerians have seen the quality of the people that are given the opportunity; they are probably some of the best we have and they are not going to fail you; they’ll certainly deliver.”
Yerima: Tinubu should dialogue with bandits
Senator Yerima told reporters that he advised President Tinubu to dialogue with bandits in a bid to resolve the security challenges in the North.
The former governor, in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), advised the government to negotiate with bandits, saying that the military option should be the last resort.
He highlighted the success of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s negotiations with militants in the Niger Delta region in 2007 as a precedent for a peaceful resolution.
Yerima, who was a senator representing Zamfara West District between 2007 and 2019, blamed banditry in some parts of the country on poverty and lack of education.
He told reporters: “You see, these people are Nigerians, and I believe that the Nigerian government has capacity. The military, and security, can deal with them immediately if so directed, if they are given the resources they require, the support and the political will.
“But the collateral damage that could be associated with the actions that can be taken, is what I believe should be avoided.
“If you send an aircraft now to where you identify the bandits, it is not only the bandits that would be affected. And if you will recall, Mr. President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, had a similar interaction with the militants in Niger Delta and it was successful.
“So, I believe that as Nigerians, if they are called upon by the government, the major causes of this problem are poverty and ignorance.
“You cannot find an educated human being, a properly educated human being who has something to do, take his arm, a gun to go kill an innocent soul, just in the name of looking for food.
“These people are having very high levels of poverty and ignorance. So, if the government now comes up with a programme of rehabilitation just like they did in the issue of Boko Haram when the issue was handled, I’m sure you will have a successful ending to this crisis.
“The economic policy that the government is planning, if you look at the documents of ‘Renewed Hope,’ I’m sure by the time the implementation takes off properly, all these issues would be handled.”
The former governor also said the President asked him to assist in resolving the faceoff between Zamfara State Governor Lawal Dauda and his predecessor, Bello Matawalle.
He said: “The issue of Zamafara, I’m now a father in Zamfara. Even Mr. President, in my interaction this afternoon, has requested me to put my best to ensure that the state is stable and that is what we are doing already.
“By the grace of God, we will come together and you will see that all the crises that are going on will be over.”
Yerima commended the President for swiftly removing the fuel subsidy, stating that the decision was crucial for achieving equilibrium in prices.