From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor has disclosed that 250 bandits have so far been neutralised in military efforts to address the problem of insecurity in Nigeria’s North West.
Gen Irabor made the disclosure on Thursday at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.
‘The primary objective of government is to ensure the peace and wellbeing of every citizen, so we undertake our operations and activities to ensure there is peace, development and the provision of amenities that aggregate to governance,’ he stated.
‘We are responsible for the security content in that regard so to that extent, looking at the numbers, from the last report that I got on Monday, we have neutralized over 250 of the bandits, we have equally arrested well over 600 and because it is a continuous thing, the figures might also change.
‘I will like to also indicate that the rescue operations have led to the rescue of many of those who were recruited, which is also part and parcel of that action and is not limited to Zamfaara State but it also extends to Sokoto and Katsina.’
Gen Irabor restated the resolve of the Armed Forces to continue the fight against bandits and other criminals troubling some parts of the country.
‘We will continue to do what we are meant to do, that is why we are still there although not all share the fact that we have done very well, many who understand the issues applaud the actions we have taken both in the North East and North West and we have had many compliments with regards to that.
‘So for me, we will not be distracted, we will remain resolute and undaunted in while engaging the criminals, to see that we scale up our operations not just in the Nort East or South West, but across the country,’ he affirmed.
Gen Irabor also called on the media to assist in monitoring the activities of aid agencies working in the Nort East.
‘I want to applaud the actions of the various aid agencies but, of course, you have some bad elements among them that have been working in opposite direction with the intent of the aid agencies and that is the reason why we equally deployed some form of intelligence oversight on the aid agencies that work within the theatres of interest to us.
‘We believe that this should also attract your attention such that you will help us to police the police as it were. If you do so, then of course you will be contributing to the overall peace and security of our country. So journalists should help us to also keep an eye on them,’ Gen Irabo appealed.
Commenting on the recent surrender of Boko Haram fighters, the Chief of Defence Staff said over 1800 have so far downed their tools and he called on stakeholders and all citizens to cooperate with security agencies in order to win the fight against insurgency.
‘The massive surrendering of Boko Haram terrorists is as a result of the actions we have taken in the North East and we believe that that is some achievement. But I also believe that issues surrounding defence and security are not just military-centric but it has to involve all stakeholders and all citizens,’ he said.
The defence chief called for the sustenance of the huge sums spent by the government on the Armed Forces.