Insecurity: Military lacks modern weapon, personnel ― Defence Minister

• Govt should fund, equip military adequately ― Tambuwal

The Minister of Defence Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) has said that banditry and insecurity had persisted in the North West because the Nigerian military does not have modern technologies and enough personnel to subdue to the insurgents.

This is just as the Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Tambuwal said proper funding and provision of equipment was needed to boost the morale of the personnel to tackle the insecurity facing the North West.

Speaking at a special Town Hall Meeting On Security, Katsina State, organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Defense Minister said, the Ministry was working out modalities to addressing boost the efforts of the personnel in the North West.

“There are various challenges that are militating against the successful execution of the mandate of these operations in the North West. Some of the challenges include the following, the lack of force multiplier.

“Modern insurgencies operation are enhanced through the application of combat force multipliers, such as the use of drones, attack drones, infrared cameras and tracking technologies.

“The Ministry of Defence is currently working out measures of acquiring these capabilities to boost our efforts in the North West.

“Secondly, we have an inadequate number. The strength of the Armed Forces in Nigeria is inadequate to effectively Police the large expanses of land, this constitutes a big hindrance to early response and intervention during the crisis”, the Minister said.

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Furthermore, Magashi said part of the efforts by the Ministry to address the security challenges in the North West was the activation of 9 joint task forces and 1 multinational joint task force.

“The Defence Headquarters in cooperation with other security agencies currently have activated 9 joint task forces and 1 multinational joint task force, 3 of these joint task forces are in North West and are geared towards enforcing peace, security and an enabling environment for economic activities to thrive.

“The security in the North West has relatively been peaceful, however in recent times, the region has been witnessed the issue of arm banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping.

“The issue of arm banditry and cattle rustling which has which was predominantly in Zamfara has spread to other states like Sokoto, Katsina and parts of Kaduna, the spread could be attributed to arm bandits looking for a safe haven as a result of sustained military operations conducted.

“Another axis of insecurity particularly kidnapping is now along Kaduna road and Kaduna Birni Gwari road. It is pertinent to state that those military operations and the pressure mounted on the criminals, many have opted for peace deal offered by the state governments has led to the decline of insecurity in this country.

“It is also pertinent to state that those ongoing military operations in the North West have mitigated the activities of cattle rustling, kidnapping, banditry and other criminalities”, he added.

The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal in his address, said the state government had been working closely with security agencies, neighbouring states and some states in Niger Republic to address insecurity in the region.

“The government of Sokoto state has been closely with security agencies in Sokoto State, the government of Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna and to some extent Niger State and the Federal Government on nipping this challenges in the board.

“We have been working with the security agencies in Sokoto State in the area of providing vehicles, to some extent funding and convening town hall meeting. We have been to Niger Republic to continue to engage our neighbours.

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“We must continue to engage and discuss how best we can continue to fund the security agencies, they are doing their best, in Sokoto precisely, there is synergy between the security agencies in the state, they are working in harmony,” Tambuwal said.

“Going forward, we know that Nigeria is undermanned by security personnel, therefore, there is the need for us to embark on more recruitment of personnel into these services.

“There is also the need for us to provide adequate funding for them to have equipment and hardware, we know the challenges, we know what is going on, they cannot fight this war without being properly kitted, without being properly refurbished in terms of hardware, the equipment they require. If the firepower of the bandit or an insurgent is more superior than that of the security officers, we should know what to expect, we should know the outcome, so there is need for us to work together with the Federal Government to ensure that our personnel are properly funded and well kitted”, he added.

The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari said in a bid to achieve lasting peace in the region, himself and the governors of Sokoto and Zamfara state had series of meetings with some governors in Niger Republic where some of the bandits come from.

“If there is no peace in Niger Republic, the bandits in Niger Republic have the capability of diluting whatever we do here in Nigeria, likewise, if we do not have a similar program in Niger Republic, because we saw it, in the last month, all the attacks in Niger carried out by Nigerien bandits that are residing in Nigeria, they leave Nigeria, go to Niger, commit banditry, cattle rustling, murder and come back to Nigeria, that’s what we saw in the last one month,” the Katsina Governor said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the cardinal program of the present administration is to tackle insecurity across the country.

He said the purpose of the special Town Hall Meeting was to avail to Nigerians the efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the security challenges facing the region and also to allow citizens to ask questions.

“As you are all aware, one of the cardinal programmes of the Buhari’s Administration is to tackle insecurity across the country. Whether it is Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling or armed robbery, the Administration has faced the challenges posed by insecurity with grit and determination.

“The Federal Government is unrelenting in tackling these challenges because without peace and security, there can be no development.

“Here in the North-west, the security challenges – Banditry, Cattle Rustling and Kidnapping – have been unique and daunting. The deadly attacks that claimed lives and destroyed property were daily making headline news all over the country.

“At a stage, the situation became so bad in some of the states in the North-west that many felt they were intractable. But thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Federal government as well as the determination and innovative efforts of the governments of the affected states, there has been a remarkable improvement, and peace and security are gradually returning to the worst-hit states.

“Unfortunately, the progress that has been made in combating banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping has not made the kind of headlines that the security challenges were making at their peak. It has therefore become imperative for the Federal Government, working with the affected states, to provide a platform for the Governors of the front-line states to highlight the successes they have achieved in their various states in tackling these cases of insecurity, as well as for relevant Federal Government Ministers to highlight the efforts that have helped to drastically reduce the level of insecurity in the North-West”, the Minister added.

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