By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to get more interested in working with security agencies to tackle myriad challenges facing the country.
In an address at the opening ceremony of Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC), in Abuja on Tuesday, the president extolled the courage and bravery displayed by security agencies and service chiefs in promoting peace and order.
He, however, noted that more could be achieved in bringing law and order to various parts of the country with full cooperation of citizens.
“Security is not just a military concern but a challenge for all Nigerians. No matter the amount of money invested in military operations, without the support of the people, display of patriotism and preparedness for everyone to be ready to take ownership of securing our environment, success will be limited.
“Consequently, we must look beyond the military and the security agencies for enduring solutions to the security challenges we are facing,’’ he said.
Buhari said the administration had put in place measures to adequately support the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies with modern equipment, adequate manpower and funds.
“We have equally, recently, put in place a National Development Plan (2021 – 2025) covering medium- and long-term plans, with a vision to make Nigeria a country that has unlocked its potentials in all sectors of the economy for sustainable, holistic, and inclusive national development.
“We will in this regard be building a thriving and sustainable economy while improving access to quality education, enhance social inclusion as well as expand infrastructure among several others.
“All of these desirables can only be achieved in a peaceful and secure environment,’’ he added.
The president said security outfits in the country deserved commendation for the efforts in tackling issues of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
“I am proud of the achievements of the security agencies in dealing with issues of terrorism, insurgency, banditry and the so-called unknown gunmen in the North West and other parts of the country.
“These issues and challenges are being professionally handled by the Armed Forces and other security agencies with improved intelligence operations and effective collaboration in the Armed Forces and other agencies.
“For this, I commend the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police and all other agencies that have been toiling day and night to ensure the safety of lives and property,’’ he added.
Buhari assured Nigerians that the issue of kidnapping that had bedeviled the country in the recent past was being tackled with all seriousness.
“We have zero tolerance for kidnapping, especially of school children and we shall deal with such outrages decisively.
“The disruption of our educational system and economic activities will not be tolerated.
“I have directed that all cases relating to security breaches, economic sabotage and wanton destruction of lives and property across the entire nation be immediately addressed.
“Let me add here that the Armed Forces have been deployed in virtually all states of the Federation to combat any security challenges,’’ he said.
The president noted that the National Security Strategy 2019 was very clear on all of issues related to safety, with the need for individuals, private sector, civil society groups, media, politicians, traditional institutions and government functionaries to key into the endeavor.
According to him, this is the time to enhance Corporate Social Responsibility and giving back to the society.
The president said policies and strategies at all levels of governance must be properly coordinated and implemented to ensure Nigerians all over the country and in Diaspora had a sense of belonging.
He said: “We must also develop our future leaders to effectively take over from us. Above all, we must harness the strength in our diversity to ensure a cohesive and forward-looking nation.
“The Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) has brought forth all of these at this National Security Seminar.
“I therefore commend the President of the Alumni Association and his team for their acts of patriotism, support for nation building and bringing their experience acquired in Service over the years to bear on enhancing national security, peace and development.’’
Buhari urged the AANDEC to keep up the efforts.
“We will continue to support the Association and I also call on all the security agencies to tap into the rich experience of AANDEC membership to enhance our security and nation building.
“I look forward to a comprehensive report with actionable recommendations just as in previous occasions, to support the efforts of Government.
“With the caliber of resource persons here, I have no doubt that the Seminar will be successful,’’ he said.
In his remark, the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), said Nigerians had put up resilience in the face of challenges, adding that security outfits should also be aware of the rights of citizens.
The minister noted that the government would keep supporting the military in ensuring promotion of peace and order.
The president of AANDEC, Air Commodore Darlington Abdullahi said there was a need to change the narrative of the country, adding that Nigerians had made indelible marks in their various fields of endeavor, and greatly impacted on the global economy.
Abdullahi said the efforts at re-orientation must be deliberate, starting from schools and other public institutions, and it must be sustained, with focus on values that bring honour like respect for national symbols, diligence, honesty and integrity. (NAN)