President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that he gave the order that security agents should shoot on sight criminal elements bearing AK-47 rifles because despite government’s effort, small arms litter everywhere.
Besides, AK-47 is a registered weapon meant only for security operatives, he stressed.
The President spoke on Thursday at a meeting with leading traditional rulers on the security situation in the country.
He said: “One thing that got to the press, which I read myself, was that anyone with an AK-47 will be shot. This is because AK-47 is supposed to be registered and it is only given to security officials.
“We closed the borders for some time, but the intelligence report I’m getting on a daily basis is that those who are conducting the abductions, the killings and so on are still not short of arms and ammunition.’’
Buhari spoke at a meeting in Abuja with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the State House, co-chaired by Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in an interview last week said: “What can be stronger than the fact that the President has ordered security operatives to shoot anyone seen with dangerous weapons like AK-47, on sight, in as much as the person is not a security operative.”
He however, expressed delight that his administration has recorded appreciable successes in the Northeast and Southsouth parts of the country.
Lamenting the security situation, the President said: “What surprises is what is happening now in the Northwest where the same people, with the same culture are killing each other, taking their livestock and burning properties.
‘‘As a result of that, we had a four-hour meeting of the National Security Council attended by the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Service Chiefs, Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of Police and others and we gave clear instructions.”
The President expressed dismay over attacks on police stations and killing of security personnel.
He urged traditional rulers to, as bridge builders in their respective communities, complement government’s efforts at ensuring peace and security.
The Federal Government has also ruled out negotiation with kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements.
It will not also bow to the suggestion by Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum to hire mercenaries to fight Boko Haram.
National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno stated this yesterday during a ministerial briefing at the State House.
Restating his marching orders to Service Chiefs to bring the security situation under control, the President noted that closer control can only be achieved with the cooperation of traditional rulers and others who play critical roles in the society.
He said: ‘‘By your roles and positions with history dating back hundred years, the people trust you implicitly and in return, you provide them with comfort and guidance in accordance with our cultural heritage and traditions.
‘‘You are the bridge builders in each of your communities. No one is better placed with your strength of moral authority to ensure that people who visit your communities for either business, leisure or any honest and credible reason are protected and made to feel at home.’’
The royal fathers stressed the need for the traditional institution to be assigned definite roles, particularly on peace and security.
The monarchs, who made presentations are the Sultan; Ooni; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Etsu Nupe, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, King Jaja of Opobo, Dr. Dandeson Douglas Jaja; the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Adamu; Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Iliyasu and the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi.
After the meeting, the traditional rulers told reporters that they stressed the need for the Federal Government to step up equipment to the armed forces to enable them confront terrorists and bandits.
The meeting was also attended by security chiefs including Monguno; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
Service chiefs seek synergy
In Ibadan on Thursday, the military and the Oyo State Government re-emphasised the need for synergy among security agencies in the campaign against all forms of criminality in the country.
They made this position known during a meeting at the Agodi Government Secretariat.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lt.-Gen Lucky Irabor and the Service Chiefs— the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru(Chief of Army Staff); Vice Admiral Zubairu Gambo(Chief of Naval Staff) and Air Marshal Oladayo Amao(Air Force) were in the state to encourage troops on the importance of partnering other security agencies in tackling insecurity in line with Buhari’s directive.
After interacting with the troops and officers of the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army., they met with top government officials led by Deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan.
Olaniyan, who represented Governor Seyi Makinde, requested the Army to deploy more troops in Oke-Ogun area of the state.
The deployment, according to him, will help to check security challenges at the numerous borders in the area.
He assured that the state would continue to provide logistics support for security agencies.
Olaniyan also the importance of synergy among the security agencies to ensure maintenance of law and order.
After the meeting which lasted barely an hour, Gen. Irabor told reporters that all the security agencies were determined to collaborate to tackle headlong, all issues of insecurity across the country.
Reiterating Buhari’s charge to them, the CDS said the military , in recognising the police as the first tier in internal security , would constantly intervene whenever the need arose.
He said “The leadership hierarchy of the Nigeria Armed Forces changed very recently and we considered it expedient to go round to see our troops and officers to familiarise ourselves with them to bring the charge of Mr President to them having being charged to take all measures necessary to address the various security challenges across the country in partnership with other security agencies.
“We have had specific interaction with our troops and we felt it necessary to let you know that we are working assiduously to address all issues that have to do with insecurity, of course, in partnership with other security agencies.
“We know that the military stands ready to give support to the authority and see that cases of insecurity are addressed holistically. We know that the police remain the first tier of internal security and where the police need the intervention of the Army, we stand very ready to give support to the police.”
Also yesterday, Pan Yoruba Congress (PYA) said Yoruba leaders would on Wednesday in Ibadan to deliberate on the parlous state of security in the nation in general and the Southwest in particular. .
A statement by the Congress’ Committee Chairman, Sola Lawal, said the meeting would hold at Mapo Hall.