After the meeting held with 36 governors on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged governors to work with local chiefs to keep the country safe and peaceful.
The President, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said working with monarchs and other community members would boost local intelligence gathering and aid the work of security agencies.
Buhari, who listened to presentations by a governor from each of the six geo-political zones on the specific security challenges affecting each region, said: “The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals.
“Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering.”
The President said his administration had done well in the Northeast and Southsouth.
“Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations,” he said.
On banditry and kidnapping, Buhari said: “Security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.’’
He explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons and drugs.
“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible,” he said.
Buhari gave assurances that the country’s military would continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.
“I am not going to the public to speak about the vehicles and equipment we have ordered. What I can say is that the military received armoured cars and other equipment and they are training the trainers. More of such equipment, including military aircrafts will come in,” he said.
Buhari said he would not tolerate hoodlums taking over the country under the guise of protests.
“We do not stop anyone from demonstrating, but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that? Democracy does not mean confusion or lack of accountability.’’
“I was disgusted by the coverage, which did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened. (They said we are all at fault. We don’t have the sympathy of anyone. We are on our own),” he said.
On the eight-month long strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the President said lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country.
“Government conceded something. The problem is that they refused to look at the problem of the whole country. The Minister of Labour is working hard at it. It is amazing how ASUU will stay out of classrooms for so long. There’s a need for our elites to understand the challenges facing the country,” he said.