The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said public support is needed to provide information for security agencies to effectively tackle insecurity.
Burutai, speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, however, said the country’s security situation “is under control and is not like what used to happen a month or two ago”.
Responding to questions on recent killing of security personnel engaged by the government to tackle insecurity in the North West, he assured that the security agencies are “working very hard and the troops are doing very well”.
“I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far. This includes the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspect of our exercise Sahel Sanity. As to whether banditry, terrorism and so on will end, I think it all depends. If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end today if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from foreign land. These terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians,” Buratai said.
He defended efforts of the security agencies, adding that “it’s not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that. Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time. It is the totality of your effort that will determine the escalation or containment of the insecurity in the country,” he said.
The Army chief said the soldiers are fully supporting operation Hadarin Daji, which is a joint operation of the armed offices and the security agencies.
Burutai, while reviewing recent operations, revealed that unlike the previous situation, the security forces have checked the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms and farm this season.
“We will ensure that this is sustained throughout this farming season and beyond. What we require is the full support of everyone in the area. It is also important for the press not to escalate the situation through reportage, giving prominence to the bandits, terrorists’ activities,” he said.
“This, he said, will go a long way in weakening the bandits. You know for the criminals publicity is their oxygen, without that publicity they will be ineffective. Couple with our efforts in the military and security agencies we will do everything possible to get rid of these criminals.”
He described terrorism and insurgency as relatively new challenges which the security agencies are tackling, adding that the military have had the “experience before and we contained it, just like the different crisis we have had in different locations”.