President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded for more support for security agencies and more time to end insurgency.
He described ending insurgency as problems “beyond the simplistic options being bandied around.”
In his Christmas message, the President also spoke on the rescue of the abducted schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, protests, youth development, and COVID-19.
On insecurity, Buhari pleaded with Nigerians to once again trust his administration’s commitment to restore peace in the country.
He said as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he would “not shirk this cardinal responsibility to secure lives and property” of all Nigerians.
The President stated that apart from being hurt each time there was a breach of the peace and security in any part of the country, he passes through distress when “our youths, especially school children,” are victims of criminals..
Buhari enjoined Nigerians to, in the spirit of Christmas, have trust in his commitment to restoring peace and security to Nigeria.
He said: “In Christendom, Christmas season represents joy, peace, hope, love, goodwill and imminent salvation. These worthy values which Jesus’ Advent symbolize, are very much needed in our country at this time when we are confronted with diverse challenges like rising spate of armed banditry, kidnappings, insurgency, economic recession and upsurge of COVID-19 infections.
“I wish to, therefore, enjoin fellow compatriots to appropriate the hope that comes with Christmas and reinvest trust in this Administration’s determination and unwavering commitment to restore peace, security and prosperity to our dear country.
“Under my watch, the Federal Government will continue to provide the needed support within available resources to the gallant members of our armed forces and security agencies as they confront threats to our citizens. While I commend them for their efforts so far, I urge them to do more to checkmate increasing incidents of security threats, especially in the northern parts of the country as well as the entire nation in varying degrees.
“Their display of tact, camaraderie, and expertise that led to the recent return of abducted schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, will remain a milestone in the annals of the country.
“For me, providing security for all residents in the country remains an article of faith. It formed a vital segment of this administration’s three-point agenda right from inception, and we must follow through with it.
“I cannot in good conscience shirk this cardinal responsibility to secure lives and property. I feel pained each time a breach of peace and security occurs in any part of the nation. I am even more distressed when our youths, especially school children, are the targets and victims of mindless and malevolent elements in society.
“As a parent, I share the emotional torture and agony parents and guardians go through whenever their children and wards fall into the cruel hands of these enemies of decency and good society.
“I plead with fellow compatriots to give our military and other security agencies more time, cooperation, and support by volunteering credible intelligence/information on activities of armed bandits, insurgents, and other criminal elements within their communities in order to put an end to this blight on our security landscape.”
He called on Nigerians to use the season of goodwill and joy to renew their faith in the ability of his administration to make a lasting difference in their lives.
Buhari said: “To be sure, the problems are beyond the simplistic options being bandied around. We shall remain focused on following the complex, multi-dimensional route to reducing the incidents of insecurity to the barest minimum.
“Our people must be free to live and move without let or hindrance. This is crucial not only to enthroning an atmosphere of calm and social cohesion but for the economy to grow.”
The President also said his administration would continue to target the youth for development so they would not be available for unpatriotic intents.
He, however, noted that the government would no longer allow protests to fester into chaos.
Buhari added: “We shall deliberately target our youths so that they will not fall into the trap of unpatriotic elements to foment social disobedience leading to avoidable loss of lives and property.
“Let me reiterate that while the right to peaceful association and protest is guaranteed under our laws, this administration will not fold its arms and watch protests however well-intended, degenerate into wanton killings of law enforcement and other security personnel as well as the destruction of private and national assets.
He charged Nigerians to go about celebrating the Christmas and New Year festivities discreetly, noting that there are indications that the nation had already entered the second wave of the COVID-19 spread.