Security Meeting Directs Military To Rescue Abducted Girl, Condemns Nyako’s Memo
The enlarged security meeting convened by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday rose from an emergency meeting directing the military to do everything possible to rescue the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents last week in Chibok, Borno State.
The meeting which was attended by all the state governors, heads of all military and paramilitary agencies discussed overall security situation in the country, including the insurgency in the North-East, cattle rustling and kidnapping.
It also had the National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger State; Theodore Orji of Abia State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State as well as Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau addressed newsmen on decisions taken on the various security challenges confronting the nation.
Fayemi said, “We recognised that the issue of the moment is the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok. We resolved that the girls should be retrieved and protected by the military.
“The military assured us that they are doing everything to achieve this.”
The Ekiti State Governor, who also said the meeting did not discuss the issue of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, added that the participants stressed the importance of rising above partisanship when dealing with security issues.
According to him, they agreed that issues bordering on security should be tackled objectively to avoid heating up the polity.
The governor further said that while security agents were commended for their increasing partnership, they were advised to be strictly professional while carrying out their assignments.
He said the meeting also urged the security agencies to do more of data sharing in their efforts to track criminals.
Fayemi added, “We also touched on anti-poverty strategy, soft approach in addition to hard approach. We talked about the importance of ensuring capacity building of media organisations because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The meeting also condemned the memo written by the governor of Adamawa State to his 19 northern counterparts accusing the Federal Government of carrying out genocide in the north.
His Abia State counterpart, Orji, said the memo written by Nyako was discussed and there was a unanimous condemnation of it.
He said, “All officers and people in positions of authority were advised to be cautious of what they say. They were told to know that what they say should at least enliven every person and make us to know that this country belongs to all of us and not something that will demoralise us; not something that will incite people to go the negative way.”
Orji said the meeting also resolved that governors should sensitise the people to the need to be more security conscious.
He added, “The meeting recognised the fact that security issue is not for the Federal Government alone, it should be a corporate issue, handled corporately by the Federal Government, State and Local Government Areas.
“When there is a synergy, obviously progress will be made. The meeting also agreed that at the state level, governors who are the chief security officers have to do a lot to help because that is where the security issue is, at the state level.
“In so doing, the state governors should mobilise their radio houses in other to sensitise the people in their states so that they will be aware of security challenges.
“We also agreed that Boko Haram that is on now is not a religious war. People should not misrepresent it to be so because both Muslims and Christians are being killed. It doesn’t discriminate against any person.”
Gusau said the meeting agreed that the Federal Government should collaborate with state and local governments as well as all Nigerians to see that the security challenges were curtailed.
He said, “The conclusion is that the Federal Government will do everything in its power in collaboration with states and local governments and everybody to see that we put it under control.
“Security is everybody’s business; it is not only the responsibility of the government. Every individual should be security conscious.”
Aliyu said those who attended the meeting asked Nyako to read his widely-publicised memo to those in attendance which he did.
At the end, he said they concluded that leaders must be cautious of what they say at these trying times.
He said while they agreed that their statements must be evidence-based, they also urged the media to be more responsible in the way they report such sensitive issues.
Aliyu said, “I am sure many of you will be curious about a letter written by our colleague, the governor of Adamawa State. We looked at it all, in fact he was allowed to read the memo to all of us. We concluded that for many of us, we need to be very careful about the kind of statements we make.
“We need to be very careful that whatever we say, are either evidenced-based or something that can be authenticated, otherwise there is no need to be giving terrorists the opportunity of thinking that they are succeeding.
“Because a terrorist, all he wants is for him to find out that what he does is really carried out in such a way that people will have the impression that he had made an impact.”
He added that the meeting recognised the fact that governments at all levels must embark on massive public awareness on security, saying that that area had been taken for granted for a long time.
Henceforth, he said issues bordering on security would no longer be left for security agencies alone.
On the cattle rearers and farmers’s clashes, Aliyu said the meeting looked at both the long and short-term ways of resolving the impasse which include the domestication of the Fulani herdsmen and further demarcation of grazing routes.
He said a committee was already working on the details of the arrangement.
Aliyu added that the meeting also resolved that religious sermons should be more monitored in such a way that preachers understood the concept of unity while preaching.
The governor said the meeting also agreed that more efforts should be put into ensuring that Nigerian authorities cooperated with neighbouring countries in the war against terrorism.
“The meeting also called for greater synergy among all security agencies,” he added.
Aliyu further said the meeting made a case for the reduction of the concepts of indigenes and settlers in the country and that emphasis should be placed on places of residence rather than states of origin.
Shettima described the meeting as fruitful, adding that it was resolved that there should be greater investment in technology while more efforts should be focused on curbing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
He added that it was further resolved that stakeholders should tackle insecurity headlong irrespective of differences in religion, tribe and political parties.
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