Insecurity: President Buhari Meets With National Security Council

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is presiding over a meeting of the National Security Council at the State House.

The meeting which started at 9:00 am is taking place at the Council Chambers.

It is expected to review the current security situation in the country, with a view to addressing the rising cases of kidnapping and banditry.

In attendance is the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

Others are the Ministers of Defence, Retired Major General Bashir Magashi, Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, as well as Chief of Defence Staff Major General Lucky Irabor, Service Chiefs and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

This comes at a time that the country battles series of security challenges especially abductions.

The most recent was the abduction of schoolgirls last Friday from the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

They have, however, regained their freedom.

The freed Zamfara Schoolgirls arrived at the State Government House in the capital city, Gusau in the early hours of Tuesday, wearing face masks and light blue and brown chadors.

Shortly after, they had breakfast and are now scheduled to visit the hospital for checks before a reunion with their families.

317 of the girls were said to have been abducted from their boarding school.

But the Governor, Bello Matawalle, put the number of abducted and recovered schoolgirls at 279.

Seven of the girls had earlier escaped their captors.

Governor Matawalle said the 279 were released with the help of repentant bandits without any ransom paid.

President Buhari Celebrates Release Of Abducted Zamfara Schoolgirls, Calls For Greater Vigilance

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed overwhelming joy over the release of the abducted female students in Zamfara State.

Reacting to the development, in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday the President said “I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students.”

He also said he was excited that their ordeal came to a happy end without any incident, adding that “being held in captivity is an agonizing experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.”

While celebrating the release of the students, the President called for greater vigilance by the people so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.

He also warned that the time has come to reverse, completely, the grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping.

“Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,” President Buhari said while urging the Police and the Military to go after the kidnappers and bring them to justice.

The freed Zamfara Schoolgirls arrived at the State Government House in the capital city, Gusau in the early hours of Tuesday, wearing face masks and light blue and brown chadors.

 

 

Shortly after, they had breakfast and are now scheduled to visit the hospital for checks before a reunion with their families.

317 of the girls were said to have been abducted last Friday from their boarding school, the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The Governor, Bello Matawalle, however, put the number of abducted and recovered schoolgirls at 279.

Seven of the girls had earlier escaped their captors.

Governor Matawalle said the 279 were released with the help of repentant bandits without any ransom paid.

Their abduction is the latest in a series of increasing abductions witnessed in the country within the last three months.

Why Buhari, Others Will Receive COVID-19 Vaccine ‘In The Open’ – Minister

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and others are to receive the COVID-19 vaccine dose “in the open”.

This is according to the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, who explained the rationale behind the decision.

Although he did not give a specific time as to when President Buhari would be vaccinated, he answered affirmatively when specifically asked if the vaccine would be administered to the President and others publicly.

“Why not? Because we want to let the people know that this vaccine is safe, that is why we will do it in the open because we need to generate that confidence and build trust in the people,” Mamora said on Monday while featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He explained, “Even in a war situation, you will want to protect as much as possible the strategic leaders of the country. Of course, Mr President, the governors…  that’s what we refer to as strategic leadership.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Tomori Warns Against A Third Wave, Urges Nigerians To Take Responsibility

(FILE) President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and others in Abuja on December 22, 2020.

 

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had hinted on Saturday that Nigeria would soon receive the first tranche of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 2, 2021.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed that the first shipment of 3,924,000 million doses of vaccines would be coming from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.

Less than 24 hours to the delivery of the vaccines, Mamora explained that the vaccine would be administered in the order of priority.

The first set of people to be considered, according to him, include the frontline health workers, the elderly, and strategic leaders in the country.


VIDEO: Nigeria To Receive About Four Million Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccine


Despite receiving the vaccine elsewhere, he insisted that incoming travellers would be made to observe the existing protocols to curb the spread of the disease.

The minister said, “The protocol is there already which is the need to produce evidence of having taken the PCR test within the stipulated time limit which is about 72 hours before boarding, and then even when they come into the country, they will go into isolation and on the seventh day, they will still be required to do the PCR test.

“It doesn’t matter (if they have been vaccinated) because having been vaccinated does not absolutely say that you cannot get the infection, what the vaccine guarantees is that if you get the infection, you are not likely to succumb.”

‘FG Will Not Succumb To Blackmail Tactics’: Buhari Condemns Zamfara School Abduction

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday condemned the abduction of hundreds of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State as inhumane and totally unacceptable and sent out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors.

In a statement released by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President said that “this administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”

According to Buhari, “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government,” adding that, “the only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.”

“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits,” he said, stressing that “our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”

President Buhari noted that “a hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.”

He warned the bandits: “Let them not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”

The President appealed to state governments “to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”

He also advised states and local governments to be more proactive by improving security around schools and their surroundings.

We Will Deal With Banditry, Insurgency – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said there will be no softening of the ongoing measures aimed at tackling insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals constituting a threat to innocent citizens across the country.

The President gave the warning through his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, during a security meeting of the Northern State Governor’s Forum and traditional rulers in Kaduna State.

President Buhari admitted that the country is battling with different dimensions of security challenges, but added that he has asked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end the ugly situation.

Meanwhile, the Northern Governors have resolved to partner with the Federal Government and their Southern counterparts in tackling the challenges.

Thursday’s meeting, which took place at the Kaduna state government house, came barely two weeks after governors of the Northwest zone held a similar meeting with the service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to discuss ways to address the issue of banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the zone.

Among the governors who attended the meeting were those of Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Plateau, as well as the Deputy Governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Zamfara, Benue, and Niger states.

In their opening remarks, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong said the meeting was long overdue and crucial for the progress of the North and the country in general.

While El-Rufai urged his colleagues to adopt strategies to forestall all forms of security challenges in the North, Governor Lalong regretted the attacks and killings menacing the region, noting that it is the responsibility of governors and other leaders to find lasting solutions to the problem.

He also described the recent kidnap of school children in Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State as a wake-up call for leaders and also as a sad reminder of the difficult situation the north is facing.

On the issue of herder-farmer clashes, which has in recent weeks generated serious concerns because of the harsh rhetoric from various parts of the country, Lalong agreed that open grazing is no longer sustainable for obvious reasons.

He also reiterated that the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), a veritable option that will go a long way in ending the clashes through organised ranching.

The northern governors also appealed to their colleagues in other parts of the country and all citizens particularly opinion leaders to be cautious in their utterances and actions, warning that such unguided utterances could provide the oxygen for the exploitation of the nation’s fault lines to the detriment of the entire country.

Decision To Lift 100 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty Not By Accident, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the administration’s policy of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is a deliberate one that will be pursued with remarkable grit and determination.

Speaking on Tuesday at a meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), which was also attended by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the State House in Abuja, he stated that the policy did not come by accident or “something we just bumped into.”

The President agreed with the Council that the country required a poverty reduction strategy that would usher in a “rapid, sustained, sustainable and inclusive” economic growth.

In a short speech after the presentation of the report on the national poverty reduction strategy developed by the PEAC, President Buhari requested the Council to present the document to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday as part of the consultation process.

He also aligned with the Council’s position that the programme of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty was a challenging one, but one that could be achieved.

President Buhari wondered what became of the nation in the past, “with all the resources available to it” that no such coordinated, holistic agenda on poverty reduction was contemplated.

“I was shocked, hearing from you that, of the vast agricultural land resources available to the nation, only two per cent of it is under irrigation”, he said with an assurance that his administration would make the best use of the land.

“Thank you for shaking us up.  We are now awake, we will not doze off again. We didn’t just bump into this, we believe it is something we can deliver on,” he added.

The PEAC Chairman, Professor Doyin Salami, who led the presentation, said the plan had so far gained an overwhelming approval of stakeholders across the country.

It had earlier been presented to the Vice President; secretaries to governments of all the 36 states, the governors, as well as development partners, including the World Bank, IMF and AfDB, and civil society organisations, and the organised private sector actors.

Professor Salami welcomed the country’s exit from recession but cautioned that the strength of the economic growth must be driven in a way that it would overtake population growth.

As presented, the poverty reduction strategy requires the nation to aim to raise agricultural productivity, address the wide disparity among states and the regions in the distribution of poverty, ensure macro-economic stability, and take advantage of the different economic endowments of the country in the promotion of industrialisation.

In defining the principles of the new strategy, the Council said the approach would be multi-dimensional.

“Poverty is not only the lack of cash.  It is defined by lack of access to shelter, health, education, and jobs which must all be addressed,” it stated.

While nothing that there had in the past been varied attempts to eradicate poverty in the country, the Council submitted that it was the first time Nigeria would consolidate on the achievements of the past and avoid past mistakes.

“It is the first time that everyone is coming on board – Federal Government, states, the private sector, development partners and the civil society. Poverty reduction must not be left to the Federal Government alone, it is everybody’s responsibility,” it said.

To this effect, the Council suggested the setting up of a “National Council on Poverty Reduction,” made up of all these stakeholders, and it was accepted by the President.

According to the President’s media aide, Garba Shehu, the poverty reduction strategy benefited from extensive consultations among all stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to achieve “ownership and sustainability”.

Buhari Appoints Ahmed Audi As NSCDC CG

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has approved the appointment of Ahmed Abubakar Audi as the new Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) following the retirement from service of Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu.

Ahmed Audi emerged as the top best candidate out of those that went through the transparent selection process initiated by the Ministry of Interior through the Board to ensure that the most suitable among the top-ranking officers in the service was appointed to replace the out-going Commandant-General of the NSCDC.

READ ALSO: Senate Committee Screens Former Service Chiefs For Ambassadorial Positions

Furthermore, President Muhammadu Buhari has also nominated Haliru Nababa as the new Controller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), subject to the confirmation of the Senate in line with the provision of the new Act establishing the Nigerian Correctional Service 2019.

The Minister of Interior and Chairman, Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Board (CDCFIB), Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola who congratulated the new appointees, called on them to ensure full implementation of the mandate of their services as well as to ensure synergy with other security agencies in the country with the view to providing efficient internal security services and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike in line with the policy thrust of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

‘We’ll Continue To Work For National Stability’; President Buhari Assures Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari (File Photo)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the stability of the country is of paramount interest to him and that the Federal Government will continue to work towards it despite the actions of a few people.

The President made the comments while receiving a delegation of the Borno/Yobe Elders Forum who visited him in Abuja on Tuesday.

“We need this country. We will continue to work for its stability,” the President was quoted to have said in a statement signed by his media aide, Femi Adesina.

“I feel that whatever happens, we will continue to make it, and will keep on praying to God so that for those who feel that they don’t need Nigeria, we will succeed over their intentions and actions.”

The President attributed the upheavals in some parts of the country to a few people with resources and influence, assuring that they will be identified and dealt with in due course.

Read Also: [Kidnapping] We Will Install CCTV Cameras On All Major Highways, Says Minister Of Police Affairs

“I am confident that we will eventually convince the small number of people with resources and influence that are a nuisance to this great country. God willing, we will identify them, and deal with them. I am extremely concerned about your constituency like the rest of the country.”

President Buhari also noted the request for the upgrade and development of infrastructure in the states and assured that while he would do his best in acceding to the requests, he would, however, prioritise developments in education.

“We are aware of the infrastructure deficit. Our priorities will be education because all our citizens know that children within a certain age must receive it otherwise if they miss it, the future is destroyed.”

He expressed appreciation to the leaders for coming to terms with the positive improvement that has occurred in the states since the inception of the administration.

In his remarks, Professor Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, said the leaders were in Abuja to thank the President for the tremendous improvement in their states and to intimate him with some of the prevailing socio-economic conditions.

Also speaking at the event, Architect Bunu Sheriff and Gambo Gubio expressed appreciation to the President as well as the armed forces for what he described as their commitment and sacrifices in bringing a new lease of life to the Northeast.

They requested for completion of long-standing infrastructure and on-going projects in the states, especially roads.

They also called on the President to continue oil exploration in the Chad Basin initiated when he was the Minister of Petroleum in the 70s and the recharging of the Lake Chad which the President is passionate about.

Also on the delegation were Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, former Governor Kashmir Shettima of Borno State, as well as senators, traditional rulers and elders in the two states.

Criminal Herders Are Being Tried And Convicted Across Nigeria – Presidency

The Presidency on Monday said “thousands of” herdsmen are being tried and convicted across the country for illegal activities.

President Muhammadu Buhari has faced criticism for taking a soft approach to the herdsmen crisis based on ethnic affiliations.

Most herdsmen are Fulani, the same ethnicity as the President.

But speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said there is no substance to such criticism.

“I hope that the police will take responsibility and publish the full list of Fulani herders who are undergoing trial in various states, particularly in Benue State,” Mr. Shehu said. “Trials are going on, convictions are being made and the President cannot be complicit in the kind of things that are being said of him.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Needs To Come Out And Condemn Herdsmen Violence – Abaribe

Mr. Shehu also said the President is fully aware of the country’s security situation and is working to ensure the safety of lives and properties.

“The President is more than concerned about the ongoing situation,” he said “And he is fully conscious of the fact that it is the responsibility of his government to work with all Nigerians to secure lives and stop the ongoing crises, whether they are kidnapping or ethnic hatred and violence. He condemns it.

“It is for community leaders – local, traditional, and elected – to work with the President.

“The country’s military, as we speak, is overstretched because they are active in at least 34 of the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT.

“The Air Force, the police, they are recruiting, day and night; people are being trained in special operations and are being sent to the forest.”

‘Condemn Violent Herdsmen’

Earlier on the show, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe had accused the President of treating criminal Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves.

“The President needs to come out and say I do not support these types of actions, these criminal elements,” Abaribe said. “He has to come out and everybody sees that he is owning this problem.”

But “We have never heard it,” he added. “Where did the President ever say that these criminal herdsmen will never be tolerated in this country? What we’ve heard from 2016 all the way down is ‘live in peace with your neighbour’ and ‘try to accommodate your countrymen’ and stuff of that nature.

“And that now enables those who are committing these crimes, that there is no punishment.

“And when you see the rest of the country, eruptions here and there, all targetted at a particular segment of people, you should be very worried. And why you should be very worried is, what is it that gives these people the impetus to continue to commit these crimes?”

Abaribe is ‘Uncharitable’

Mr. Shehu disagreed that the President has not condemned the herdsmen’s violence.

“When Femi Adesina or myself speak for the President, people should accept that it is the President that is speaking,” he said.

“For this President, it is the actions that should speak for him. He is not a showman. He doesn’t have to be there.

“And let’s be understood, we are not trying to personalise anything. Senator Abaribe dwelt a lot, attacking President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that he has not, even at a rhetorical level, spoken against this kind of violence.

“That is most uncharitable. This country has problems. It requires the involvement of everyone. All hands must be on deck.”

Buhari Needs To Come Out And Condemn Herdsmen Violence – Abaribe

 

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe on Monday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the nation’s herdsmen crisis.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Abaribe suggested that the President’s posture appeared to give fuel to the activities of these violent herdsmen.

“The President needs to come out and say I do not support these types of actions, these criminal elements,” Abaribe said. “He has to come out and everybody sees that he is owning this problem.”

But “We have never heard it,” he added. “Where did the President ever say that these criminal herdsmen will never be tolerated in this country? What we’ve heard from 2016 all the way down is ‘live in peace with your neighbour’ and ‘try to accommodate your countrymen’ and stuff of that nature.

“And that now enables those who are committing these crimes, that there is no punishment.

“And when you see the rest of the country, eruptions here and there, all targetted at a particular segment of people, you should be very worried. And why you should be very worried is, what is it that gives these people the impetus to continue to commit these crimes?”

Abaribe is ‘Uncharitable’

Responding to Abaribe, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu described his comments as “uncharitable.”

He stressed that the President, through his spokespersons, has condemned such violent activities.

“Senator Abaribe dwelt a lot, attacking President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that he has not, even at a rhetorical level, spoken against this kind of violence,” Sheu said. “That is most uncharitable.

“When Femi Adesina or myself speak for the President, people should accept that it is the President that is speaking.

“For this President, it is the actions that should speak for him. He is not a showman. He doesn’t have to be there.”

Killer Herdsmen: Anyone Caught With Illegal Arms Should Be Tried, says Presidency

 

President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the issue of killer herdsmen is that anyone caught with illegal arms should be arrested and tried, spokesman Femi Adesina said on Tuesday.

Mr. Adesina, who made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, was reacting to recent comments made by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

Mr. Ortom had said the President was silent over the issue of armed herdsmen causing havoc across the country.

READ ALSO: Buhari Flags Off Nigeria-Niger Railway Project

“If the Governor would say he hasn’t heard the President speak on that matter, that’s what he should make clear; it’s not that the President hasn’t spoken,” Mr. Adesina said.

“Because the number of times the President has spoken on that issue . . . and his position has always been the same: anybody, whoever he is, that carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted. The President has said it countless times.”

However, when asked how many herdsmen have been arrested in recent times, Mr. Adesina said “I don’t have that figure at my fingertips . . . but I know that a lot of people are awaiting trial.”

Ranching as solution?

Clashes between farmers and herdsmen have escalated this year, especially in the southwest where quit notices were delivered to people of Fulani extraction.

Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, recently suggested that ranching was the solution to the phenomenon of herdsmen moving across the country with cattle.

Reacting to the Governor’s suggestion, Mr Adesina said all suggestions should be discussed.

He also pointed to the Federal Government’s Ruga program, which was rejected by some states.

“Nigeria is a peculiar country where the federal government has no land,” he said. And if states say they have no land for ranches, then another solution has to be found.

“So we need to discuss these things and appraise them critically until we can get to what we can call ‘the’ solution.”

 

President Buhari Pays Tribute To Pioneer NNPC GMD, Festus Marinho

First NNPC GMD, Festus Marinho (File Photo)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family of the pioneer Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chief Festus Marinho, who passed on in January at the age of 87.

In a letter to the Marinho family, the President described the deceased as a “skilled and knowledgeable person,” whom he worked with twice in his days as Petroleum Minister.

“I write to express my heartfelt condolence on the passage of a noted Oil and Gas Executive, Chief Festus Marinho, whom I worked with, in the industry for many years.

“Chief Marinho was Managing Director of Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC), which was the forerunner of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He became the pioneer Group Managing Director of NNPC, where he proved his mettle as a skilled and knowledgeable person. No wonder he served twice, 1977-1979, and 1984-1985.

“As Minister for Petroleum for over three years, I served closely with the late Marinho. He was brought back under my time as military head of state. I found him resourceful and hard working.

“I pray that God rests his soul, and comfort the family he left behind,” the letter read.