The Federal Government has ordered military led onslaught against the Cattle Rustlers and bandits causing havoc in some parts of the northern part of the country.
This is the outcome of the closed door meeting between the eight Governors of North Western and North Central states, Security Chiefs and other Federal Government representatives yesterday at the Ministry of Defence, Abuja.
The meeting, which was called at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the affected region, has the Governors of Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue and Plateau States in attendance, while that of Zamfara state was represented by the Deputy Governor.
Speaking after the meeting, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS) Danladi Kifasi who coordinated it on behalf of President Buhari, assured that the state of insecurity in the affected northern part of the country, especially, cattle rustling would be a thing of the past.
Kifasi expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, saying that the modalities being put in place and championed by the military, would help to bring sustainable peace to the region.
“I am quite satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Obviously, for security reasons, we cannot discuss operational matters live on television.
“Farmers, people who have cattle can be rest assured that cattle rustlers would be a thing of the past", he said.
When asked the if the military would be actively involved and lead the operations, he said; "it is obvious, it should be obvious that the military will lead the operation".
Prior to the close door meeting, the HoS disclosed that it was the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who requested for Presidential intervention to address the security situation in the region.
Kifasi revealed that Buhari acting on that request called for an expanded meeting of the governors of the contiguous states in order to arrive at a more sustainable solution to the issue of ethnic killings, cattle rustlings and farmers-herdsmen conflicts.
He said: "The meeting was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari. The commander in chief mandated me to call all of you, following a request by the executive governor of kaduna state, in order to review, discuss and come up with modalities leading to the effective tackling of the current security concerns affecting Kaduna State and its neighbouring Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi in the North West. And Plateau, Benue, Niger and Nassarawa States
"The essence of having your excellencies is to have first hand information as well as your views about the activities of these bandits and the way forward. While the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), will share their ideas about tackling the challenge".
In the same vein, El-Rufai who spoke on behalf of the governors, said that the security operations would be expanded to focus on the forest areas where the notorious rustlers and bandits operates from.
Well, he said, the Governors of some selected states in the Northern part of Nigeria came here to meet with the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Policeand the Commandant General of the Nigeran Security Civil and Defence Corp to discuss issues of common security interest to all the states.
"This discussion has started in Kaduna where we are looking at areas, forests that have become a source of banditry in our states, and this ha been expanded to look at other forests in the North Central Nigeria that has also been a source of banditry and criminality. Bt we are discussing with the Ministry of Defence, the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant of the NSCDC. It is an operation to address that", he added.
El-Rufai who is the initiator of the security meeting confirmed that they "have made substantial progress, but the details would be announced at the right time by those in charge of the operation".
According to him, the Governors of each of the states affected by this operatio have in place, post-operations plan including dealing with internally displaced people, activating the State emergency Management Agency, to deal with any emergencies, as well as ensuring the presence of law enforcement in the forest or around the forestso that civil population would continue to live I peace.
"So we have a comprehensive strategy, not only about the military operation but also how to ensure that there is peace and security, post operations", he said.
Those in attendance apart from the governors, HoS, and Security Chiefs includes the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Defence, Finance and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
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