President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned that he was ready to wield the big stick in his drive to arrest insecurity across the country.
He expressed his readiness to make changes in security personnel and architecture should the need arise.
The President explained that he would not want his administration to be defined by the spate of insecurity, saying he would not leave the country in security crisis at the end of his tenure in 2023.
The President spoke at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) made known the President’s comment at a briefing after the meeting.
He added, however, that the President was happy with the progress made between the last NSC meeting in June and Thursday’s.
Also on Thursday in the United States, Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria was on course in winning the insurgency battle.
He denied that the country was at war or heading in the direction of Afghanistan – where Islamic hardliners Taliban has taken over the government.
In Abeokuta, Ogun State former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the security situation is precarious “very bad, but not insurmountable,” he spoke while receiving Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Uche Secondus.
Gen. Munguno said: “So, the president was briefed, the president is quite happy that there’s been tremendous success, especially with the advent of the new service chiefs and Inspector General of Police.
“And he’s also made it very, very clear that he’s not ready to exit government as a failure. He is not going to tolerate that. He has made changes and he is ready to make further changes if he is not satisfied. He is completely determined to ensure that there’s a turnaround in the fortunes in the theatre of operations.
“We also addressed the issue of the prevailing situation, which is widespread, you know, issues of hunger. The president is not oblivious to the pains of the people, and is working with the Vice President and other members of council, he’s going to employ the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government to address this issue.
Gen. Munguno added: “It is evident that a lot of successes have been recorded. Large numbers of people are surrendering in the northeast as a consequence of the relentless efforts of the Armed Forces, intelligence and security agencies. This is very, very evident.
“We’ve never had such large numbers of people defecting from the other side, back to the Nigerian side, mainly, as a result of many issues within the theatre, issues of infighting among the various factions of the terrorist groups.
“But the new drive of the Armed Forces, the police, the intelligence agencies, there’s been greatest cooperation, greater synergy intelligence sharing, as well as our partners in the regional intelligence fusion unit.
Gen Munguno advised Nigerians to share intelligence to help security to deal with criminalities more decisively, saying that citizens should shun mutual suspension.
“Well, what I expect is for the Nigerian people also to forge a sense of oneness, unity, let’s put aside whatever suspicions, apprehensions or agitations that exists, because in the context of the 21st century, you can’t deal with these emerging crisis in a cut and dried manner.
“We have to use everything at our disposal, all the elements of national power, including the population, the wider community needs to work with the security agencies to deal with these problems.
“Responses has to be fast. We can’t act on stale intelligence. And that is why as things are happening, right from the grassroots level going all the way up, the local government, the state governments, and then of course, the federal government has its own parts to play.
On what will become the fate of the Boko Haram members that have surrendered, the NSA said President Buhari is yet to decide on it.
“Yes, there are plans. But I don’t want to immediately divulge what has been decided on those plans till the president takes a firm decision on the plans. But definitely that is one of the things that he intends to address with the number of people coming.
“And it’s not just in Nigeria, even in northern Cameroon, you have equally large numbers of people, you know, surrendering to the bonafide agencies of government.
“But that is all as a consequence of the regional cooperation between the various countries and the agencies of those countries”, he said.
He said the hunger in the country was addressed and that a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was working on addressing that.
Apart from the vice president and Gen. Munguno, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, Service Chief led by Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Luck Irabor attended the meeting.