By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday hinted on possible changes in the nation’s security architecture with a view to reinvigorate and reenergise it in the ongoing fight against terrorism and violent crimes in the country.
The president gave the hint when he received traditional rulers from the South West zone of the country, led by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari told the rulers that already he had recently directed a reshuffle in the army where Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun was promoted and deployed as the army’s Chief of Policy and Plans.
According to him, the government will continue to effect more changes in the army, where necessary, so as to boost the morale of the nation’s troops engaged in various security assignments across the country.
“I believe you are aware that there is a reshuffle in the Army, including the promotion and deployment of Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun as the Nigerian Army’s Chief of Policy and Plans.
“This is done in order to reinvigorate and reenergise our troops to do more.
“There will be further reviews where necessary for maximum performance,’’ he said.
The president said, as the traditional authorities in their communities, government and the security agencies would be relying on them to monitor the several different communities and people coming in and out of their areas.
“Let me be very clear about our firm resolve to change the security architecture of Nigeria.
“It is one of the top priorities for this government but we won’t be able to achieve this goal without the support and input of you, our royal fathers.
“We hope that, for instance, traditional rulers will be able to observe new entrants into the community by requesting leaders of such ethnic groups to notify the traditional authorities of new intakes, thereby creating the opportunities for the gathering of actionable intelligence which tracks such movements in and out of communities thereby offering early warning signals,’’ he said.
The president also assured the traditional rulers and the entire nation that his administration would enforce the law, prosecute law breakers and secure an atmosphere of tranquility for all Nigerians where ever they choose to live and also protect communities from all forms of crimes.
“This is both in our interests as an administration and the interests of the people who voted us into office,’’ he said.
Buhari maintained that the government needed security to deliver on its many programmes to the people, saying “there can be no prosperity if there is no security.
“This is not only a message of hope but a call to action to all of us as we seek ways to secure our country’’.
He warned that the federal government, on its part, would deal decisively with anyone caught fomenting acts of criminal activities by every means necessary.
“We intend to deal severely with those evil Nigerians inciting violence for political ends,’’ he said.
The president also outlined some of his administration’s interventions to check the activities of terrorist groups, banditry and kidnappings in the country.
He said these interventions include an “expedited commencement of community policing, a robust revamping of police intelligence gathering capacity and the significant boosting of the numbers of security personnel in our local communities.
“This in specific terms will include recruiting a lot more police officers and doing so right from their local government areas, where they will train and station them in the best practice of community policing”.
According to him, the government will equally continue to bring in the military when needed to complement the work of the police including possible deployment of troops on certain highways on a temporary basis.
He stated that the government would also encourage the use of the Air Force assets to bomb hideouts where criminals are located.
While admitting that these measures were inter-related and have to be well coordinated, he stressed that “the speedy implementation of community policing will facilitate a more effective collection of intelligence.
“This is especially in the area of a more useful and effective intelligence gathering process that traditional rulers will play some of the most critical roles,” he said.
Earlier, the Ooni of Ife, as well as other traditional rulers with him, had individually appraised the president with security challenges they were facing in their domains and called on him to support their efforts in addressing the issues.