Published November 17, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday told the quarterly meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) that he will not allow a repeat of the recent #EndSARS protests that led to the destruction of properties in the country.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, made this disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the meeting presided over by the president at the presidential villa, Abuja.
According to Dingyadi, the President has however assured that relevant stakeholders including the youths will be carried along to forestall a repeat and build a peace process in the country.
The minister who said the meeting was convened to brief President Buhari about security situation in the country, said on ENDSARS protests: “Mr. President assured Nigerians that he will do whatever it takes to ensure the repeat of ENDSARS protests does not occur in Nigeria again.
Mr. President reassured that all stakeholders will be involved in the Process of maintaining peace in the country, particularly the youth, community leaders, traditional rulers, politicians, public servants, religious leaders etc
The Federal Government will continue to maintain its bureaucratic, humane and just postures in handling security matters in the country.”
Asked whether it would include a crackdown on potential protesters, the minister replied: “On the issue of #EndSARS that you have raised, what we are saying is that government will continue to dialogue, it will continue to listen and will continue to carry all stakeholders along in ensuring that there is no repeat of what happened that destroyed a lot of properties, public and private, individuals in this country.”
Dingyadi, said the meeting which was also attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, also noted with concern the increasing cases of armed banditry particularly in the north west and north eastern part of the country and agreed to be more proactive in dealing with the situation in a more decisive manner.
He said: “The meeting noted the need to pay greater attention to the police in the discharge of its functions to maintain peace in the country, in the areas of equipment and modern technology. The meeting thanked the president for the concern which he has shown in repositioning the police to perform more effectively.
“In his concluding remarks, Mr. President thanked members for the efforts they are making in maintains peace and assured members that he will do whatever it takes to support security agencies in providing peace in the country.”
On how soon should Nigerians expect the difference in improved security in the areas that were discussed at the meeting, Dingyadi said: “Let me say that in whatever one does you must have a timeline, you must have your targets and you must work towards achieving those targets. We have our timelines, we have our targets and we are working towards achieving those targets.”
On what specific things were being done by the government to change the current security situation in country, the minister said: “You see, these bandits have already been degraded, so there is no way they can resuscitate themselves and take over. I think they have already been degraded, what they are doing is just hit and run kind of tactics. So, we don’t see any sign of them coming to takeover or overpower, I think they have been well degraded and they are just trying to show their presence in a very cowardice manner.”
On the concerns that police have abandoned Abuja-Kaduna and plans to ensure peace return to that route, Dingyadi said: “You see, once a small thing happens in a particular place like this Kaduna, we begin to talk about lack of security in that area. That place is being monitored 24 hours. The police and the army are on a kind of joint patrol on 24 hours basis. We also have our own separate police formation that is also on that road. I think it is an over statement to say that that place is not being secured. People are still following it (Abuja-Kaduna), we agree that there have been cases of attacks but these are normal things these people do whenever they have opportunity and we are equal to the task. Whenever this kind of thing happens, we pursue them like what happened just two days ago, those people were rescued. So police and security personnel will continue to monitor this road and all other places to ensure that peace is to a very large extent maintained in the area.”
On if the police were really back on the streets, their morale sufficiently boosted to tackle the boldness of kidnappers going to people homes, the minister said: “Even this morning at this meeting, I informed council that the police are very much on their duty posts unlike what people are saying. We receive daily situation reports from across the states and that is a good indicator that the police are very much on their duty posts, they are also on the road and they are working 24 hours. But I will agree with you when you say that police are not everywhere. We cannot be everywhere because of our number, equipment but we are doing all we can to ensure that we cover as much as we can and to protect as many lives as we can to ensure that there is peace in this country.”
The minister while reacting to a question that many believe that the monies from ransomed were being used to fund Boko Haram said: “You see, we always encourage people to report these cases to the police because, the moment you take it upon yourself and continue to pay ransom this will continue to occur. But if you report to the police, they will continue to pursue these people and in most cases we succeed in freeing these victims.”
In the meeting was also attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Ministers of Defense Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Mahashi (Retd.); Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama.
Others in the meeting were the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rafa’i Abubakar; and the Director-General of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi.