Insecurity in different parts of the country will end as soon as Nigerians want them to end, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai said in Abuja on Monday.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai was briefing reporters after a meeting with President Muhmmadu Buhari at the State House.
The COAS, who noted that ongoing military operations in the North and other parts of the country were progressing successfully, also said that the security situation in the North had been brought under control and better than it was a few months ago.
A couple of bloody incidences had been reported in different parts of the country, especially in the North, in the last few days.
Replying a question on whether there was possibility of violent crises across the country being finally put down, the COAS said the various criminal activities besetting the country would end if Nigerians come together to end them.
According to him, those engaging in the violent and criminal activities were almost all Nigerians, saying “these terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians.
“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.
“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.
“There are set backs that can occur in such military operations or any security operations but that not mean inability to handle it, incompetence to handle it, as long as the efforts are there and are visible, the support of all and sundry will be required to address it squarely.
“Like I said, if we want it to end, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into it to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
“But if we don’t do anything and continue to complain, and continue to accuse the agencies involved in fighting it, then we are not helping matters. You are supposed to find solutions as something is being done on daily basis.
“I assure you that we will soon reach the end of the tunnel and we will see the light that will improve the security situation in all parts of the country.”
Lt.-Gen. Buratai further said that the Nigerian Army, in connection with other security agencies, was doing everything to ensure that the people in the troubled parts of the north live secured and protected.
He said the army had deployed an adequate number of personnel to the north to secure the area, especially to protect farmers during this year’s planting season.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai said: “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.
These include 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.
“It is also important for the press 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. Coupled with our efforts in the military and security agencies we will do everything possible to get rid of these criminals.”