President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday pledged that his administration will use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits to ensure that they did not create havoc against access to farms and food production in the coming growing season.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that agricultural production in Nigeria has faced a lot of challenges due to the activities of kidnappers, bandits and killer herdsmen which have made it difficult for farming activities to go on in most parts of the country, leading to food shortages and high cost of foodstuff.
But speaking to reporters at the State House shortly after observing the Eid prayer marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, President Buhari, in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, said that the menace of bandits and kidnappers would be tackled ensure that the nation's food security is not threatened.
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The president, who expressed hope for a good rainy season this year, said: "The law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits, so that we can go back to the land. This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land so that we can get enough food for the country and even export."
Explaining ongoing efforts to tackle the security situation in the country by the administration, President Buhari drew attention to the series of long meetings held in recent weeks, chaired by him, saying that a part of the resolutions had been made public by the National Security Adviser and others kept secret.
"With the resources and manpower available to us, we are working very hard. We are hoping Nigerians will understand the problem. Nigerians know at what stage we came in, in 2015, what state we are today both on security and the economy, and we are doing our best."
The president commended the National Assembly for its support, saying, "the National Assembly is cooperating very well. Within the resources available, they are certainly giving us priority on our (military) requests."
President Buhari then made an appeal to the nation's elite to show a better appreciation of the problems facing the country.
"The elite should make the attempt to understand the military. If we order for weapons and armoured vehicles, it takes time for the manufacturers. It takes time to ship them and, when brought here eventually, they are taken to training institutions; they train the trainers before sending them to the field. This is a very long process," the president explained.
"I expect Nigerians to be more understanding on the issues involved, looking at time and available resources. For example, when we came in, in the Northeast, ask people in Adamawa and Borno States and the South South in terms of security.
"Without security, you can't do anything. Our big surprise and disappointment is what is happening in the Northwest and we are dealing with it," said the president.
President Buhari and members of his family were joined for the Eid at the forecourt of the Villa by Senate President Ahmed Lawan, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, cabinet members and the heads of security and intelligence agencies.