Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has directed the service chiefs to “take out” bandits, kidnappers and their sponsors.
According to President Buhari, the reign of terror unleashed on parts of the country by bandits and kidnappers is no longer acceptable.
This directive was issued by the president during his meeting with the service chiefs at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Babagana Monguno, the national security adviser (NSA), briefed state house correspondents after the meeting.
He quoted the president as saying that the armed forces should be more proactive rather than reactionary.
Monguno said the president also insisted that all the decisions approved at the national security council meeting in February remain enforced. The decisions include a ban on mining activities in Zamfara and the no-fly order imposed on the state.
The president was quoted as saying that the status quo should be maintained in Zamfara, so as to curb insecurity in the state.
He said: “On the issue of kidnapping and banditry, this menace still persists, especially in the north-west and the north-central zones. Mr president has been very emphatic, he has stated very clearly that this problem must be brought to an end, but using the traditional methods that the armed forces have been trained to deploy.
“Mr president has made it very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that the first assignment will be to identify the leaders of these bandits, kidnappers and take them out, in order to restore confidence in those areas.
“Mr president has said that he will no longer tolerate a situation whereby bandits and kidnappers are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tone and he will not also condone a situation in which our own operations are reactionary rather than being proactive.
“He has also indicated his willingness to provide all the resources required by our own troops in order to put down these criminals. They must be brought down with all the ruthlessness that is required and whoever is working in collaboration with them will be brought to book.”
The meeting with the service chiefs comes ahead of Buhari’s medical trip to London, UK.
Femi Adesina, senior special adviser to the president on media and publicity, had on Monday announced that the trip is “routine”.
The president is expected to return to the country in the second week of April.