Leadership (Abuja)

25 April 2014

Nigeria: Security Council Holds Seven-Hour Meeting

President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors and service chiefs yesterday rose from the expanded national security council meeting that lasted more than seven hours, with a condemnation of the memo by Adamawa State governor Murtala Nyako to northern governors in which he accused the federal government of sponsoring genocide against the rorth.

The meeting which began at about 12:13pm at the council chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja, ended at about 7:15pm.

Briefing journalists after the meeting alongside his Niger, Borno and Ekiti counterparts as well as defence minister Aliyu Gusau and presidential spokesman Dr Reuben Abati, the Abia State governor Theodore Orji stated that the expanded national security council meeting unanimously condemned Nyako's memo.

He said, "The memo written by one of our colleagues, Adamawa State governor Murtala Nyako, was discussed and there was a very unanimous condemnation of that memo. All officers and people in positions of authority were advised to be cautious of what they say, that is, what they say should make us know that this country belongs to all of us and not something that will demoralize us; not something that will excite or incite people to go the negative way".

Orji noted that the meeting recognised the fact that the issue of security should not be left for the federal government alone, and that cooperation at every level was needed among the federal, state and local governments.

He said, "When there is a synergy, obviously progress will be made. The meeting also agreed that at the state level, governors who are chief security officers have to do a lot to help because that is where the security issue is. In so doing, the state governors should mobilize their radio houses in other to sensitize the people in the state so that they will beware of this security situation."

Governor Orji further stated that the council agreed that the Boko Haram insurgency was not a religious war "because both Muslims and Christians are being killed. It doesn't discriminate against any person".

On his part, Niger State governor Babangida Aliyu told journalists that after Nyako's memo was discussed, the meeting agreed that there was the need to show restraint is making statements in order not to embolden the insurgents.

"There is no need to be giving the terrorists the impression that they are succeeding because terrorists want to know that they are making impact," Aliyu added.

On his part, Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi said the meeting harped on the need for information sharing between security agencies.

"Data should be shared across the board amongst security agencies. Holistic approach in curbing terrorist activities including the anti-poverty approaches," he said, noting that the meeting also focused on Chibok, with security agencies pledging that they will do everything possible to ensure that the abducted children are rescued.

Fayemi further said the meeting stressed the importance of ensuring capacity building of media organisation so that security sensitivities of those issues are addressed.

According to the defence minister Gen Gusau, the meeting discussed the overall security of the country, the operation in the northeast, kidnapping and criminal activities that warrant government's attention.

He also emphasized that security is everybody's responsibility, and that everyone should be security conscious, adding that the meeting also harped on the need for massive public security awareness.

Apart from Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola, other All Progressives Congress (APC) governors were in attendance. The governors of Rivers, Kano, Imo, Edo, Ogun, Yobe and Jigawa sent their deputies. Plateau State governor Jonah Jang sent his deputy.

The composition of the expanded national security council meeting took a more enlarged dimension with the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Saad Abubakar III and the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor in attendance.

The state governors in attendance were those of Anambra, Abia, Benue, Bauchi, Kwara, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Adamawa, Borno, Taraba, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ogun, Kebbi, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Oyo, Osun and Ondo.

All the service chiefs, including the inspector-general of police (IGP), were in attendance. From the federal government side were the secretary to government of the federation (SGF), minister of defence, national security adviser (NSA), minister of justice, FCT minister, and police affairs minister among others.

... As Fani-Kayode spits fire over insurgency

Not fewer than 20 generals are among top intelligence officers who have stormed Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, primarily to rescue the abducted final year female students of the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, whose kidnapping is still causing disaffection in the polity, even as Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has urged all right thinking Nigerian to rise up against the insurgency.

Borno State women had threatened to storm the dreaded Sambisa Forest if the remaining students are not set free; however, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has ordered his intelligence officers across all the security agencies to intervene with a view to freeing the girls within a few days.

Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja yesterday, a senior military officer disclosed that senior intelligence officers had arrived Maiduguri since Wednesday and were combing everywhere suspected to be the hideout of the insurgents.

"It is a pity many critics are not ready to find out what we are doing; they think the CDS and his team are sleeping and doing nothing about the students that were kidnapped on April 15. There is nothing some of them have not said against the military despite all the sacrifices we make on daily basis over the insurgency.

"If I may let you know, most of our very senior intelligence officers, including about 30 generals across all the forces and security agencies, have been in Borno State since yesterday (Wednesday) and their primary function is to set those girls free wherever they may be, as ordered by the CDS," the source said.

Meanwhile, Fani-Kayode, has urged all patriotic Nigerians to collaborate with the security agents who are working hard to rein in those trying to Islamise the country before they would dismember the country.

Writing on his Facebook wall with a caption 'The Choice Is Ours', Fani-Kayode traced the insurgency to the failure of the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to deal with the protagonists of the Sharia system when he was in power.

He began the write-up with the statement attributed to the Government of the Cameroons that "Nigerian Muslim clerics living in the border towns of Cameroon and Nigeria are recruiting Boko Haram members in their mosques."

He noted that it was those who encouraged Sharia Law in order to destabilise the government of Obasanjo, in which he served as a presidential aide and later as minister, who should have been dealt with, saying they are still backing the insurgency agenda.

"The same forces encouraged political Sharia in order to destabilise President Olusegun Obasanjo's government and undermine his leadership between the years 2000 and 2003. This battle should have been fought and won then but Obasanjo failed to fight it and he handled it with kid gloves, claiming that it would 'fizzle out'. Well 'fizzle out' it did not, and like a cancerous sore, 10 years later it has come back to haunt us in the form of Boko Haram with all its attendant violence, horror and bloodshed."

Fani-Kayode noted that in the last three years, no fewer than 10,000 Nigerians have been killed in the insurgency and hundreds abducted, saying the problem could spread across the nation if not halted now.

Clashes: Northern Govs, Cattle Breeders, Farmers Parley

Northern governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors Forum are locked in a meeting with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).

The meeting between the northern governors and state chairmen of the MACBAN over the incessant clashes between them and farm owners in the north.

Governors of Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau (deputy), Kogi, Benue, Bauchi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kano (deputy) were at the meeting.

The governors started arriving at 7pm.The meeting is targeted at finding lasting solutions to the incessant crises between herdsmen and farmers in the region.

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