President Muhammadu Buhari has met behind closed doors with the six governors of the North East Zone and security chiefs at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting was also attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha. The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, also attended the meeting.
Daily Times gathered that the affected governors, who were led by their Chairman and governor of Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum, included Ahmadu Fintri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi State), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe State), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe). The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas were equally at the meeting. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, were also in attendance. The Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufa’i, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, also attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has called for the re-introduction of the village security council to give more powers to the local government to address the challenge of banditry in the North West. Masari made the call on Monday when he led members of his cabinet on a visit to the Special Army Super Camp 4 Faskari to ascertain the level of successes of Operation Sahel Sanity. He said the state government was looking into the local government Act to see how it can recreate the local security council altered by the local government reforms of 1976.
According to him, local councils should be empowered to be able to maintain security at the local communities. The governor stated that the fight against banditry was yet to be over, adding that more effort needed to be put in to be able to crush the bandits.
“As a government, there are certain actions which we need to take; actions that are non-kinetic, actions that are administrative, actions that will make us look back at laws governing our local communities.
“My own thinking is that the local government reforms of 1976, which has taken all authorities from local institutions and vesting it on nobody.
“As a government, we are going through the archives to see how we can recreate the village security council, and every Ward in Katsina state will have a similar committee to recreate village security council.
“This village security council also can stray down to remote and smaller areas so that we can have those that can be held responsible.
“We also believe that future dialogue should be conducted in each and every village by these community councils.
“I think it will help greatly because the military is working very hard to restore normalcy but after that we need to maintain and sustain peace in the villages and communities,” he said. Masari said that there was need on the part of the state governments to address the problem of education, which according to him, had been neglected in the remote areas for over 40 years. He commended the efforts of the security agencies and urged them to secure the attacked villages to enable the internally displaced persons (IDPs) return to their communities.
“I have been briefed on the activities of this super camp and what the military had been able to do under Operation Sahel Sanity, of which Katsina is one of the benefiting states.
“On June 5, there was an attack by bandits that killed over 50 people, which was the hallmark of bandits’ activities in the state followed by another attack almost a month after in Batsari.
“Today, we thank Almighty God and we also thank the efforts of the Nigerian military, Nigerian army and Air force for their response to restore normalcy in the lives of our people,” he said. The governor also called on the locals in various communities to assist the security agencies with useful information and shun any act of giving information about troops movement to bandits.
He said that the cooperation of the local communities was necessary to enable the military track and apprehend the bandits. The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Army had on Saturday, visited the camp and passed a vote of confidence on the recently launched Operation Sahel Sanity. Apart from Gov. Masari, governors of Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Niger and Zamfara as well as Emirs are expected to visit the super camp within the week.