SWITZERLAND, JULY 21 – The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, has affirmed that 99 percent of terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers operating in the country are Nigerians.
Buratai stated this on Monday when he addressed State House Correspondents after a close-doors meeting with President Muhmmadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa.
According to him, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into the fight to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
He said “as to whether banditry, terrorism and so on will end, I think it all depends. If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end today if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from foreign land.
“These terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians. So it’s not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that.
“Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time. It is the totality of your effort that will determine the escalation or containment of the insecurity in the country.”
The Army Chief appealed to the media not to escalate the situation through reportage, giving prominence to the bandits, terrorists activities.
“This will go a long way in weakening them. You know for the criminals publicity is their oxygen, without that publicity they will be ineffective. Couple with our efforts in the military and security agencies we will do everything possible to get rid of these criminals,” he added .
Buratai also said he came to brief President Buhari on the task he gave him which he has accomplished one aspect of the task .
“And to brief him on our operations, especially operations Sahel sanity in the northwest and of course the ongoing operations in northeast and other security issues, that pertains to the Nigerian army actually.
“I briefed him on the efforts going on in the northwest, we have seized the initiative. The security situation I assure you is under control and is not like what use to happen a month or two ago. We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far.
“This includes the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspect of our exercise Sahel Sanity. We are there fully supporting operation Hadarin Daji, which is a joint operation of the armed offices and the security agencies.
“So far, this collective effort is making tremendous progress in the area of bringing normalcy. Unlike the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and of course the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms and farm this season, this has been removed with the presence of the number of troops in the northwest and they are carrying out surveillance operations, patrol to ensure that no one is molested if you go outside the community to farm or harvest.
“We will ensure that this is sustained throughout this farming season and beyond. What we require is the full support of everyone in the area,” he added.