The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali has drawn the attention of the security council to the incessant killings and kidnappings by armed bandits and criminal activities across the North-West which is becoming alarming and worrisome. He mentioned Abuja-Kaduna expressway as a source of concern as there were still recorded incidences of kidnappings within the period under review.
He also stated that the upsurge in incidents of security concern in Zamfara State is quite disturbing and calls for more robust approach to tackling the threat. The situation is characterized with killings and kidnappings by armed bandits and criminal elements predominantly in Anka, Maru, Kaura Namoda and Talata Mafara LGAs of the State.
In the North-Central, the incidents of herdsmen-farmers clashes in Benue and Taraba states has reduced considerably. Several arrests have been made in connection with the killings and destruction of properties by own troops in conjunction with other security agencies. While in the North-East, the Boko Haram Terrorists activities have been contained as there is significant improvement in security situation in the Zone. The Nigerian Army has launched Operation LAST HOLD to flush out the insurgents from their hideouts in the Lake Chad Basin and free the communities to enable IDPs to return to their homes. The operation is to last till end of August 2018.
Similarly, the MNJTF is currently engaged in Operation to dislodge Boko Haram Terrorists in the fringes between Niger Republic and Nigeria. The Task Force has so far dislodged the insurgents from Arege, Kangarwa, Metele and few other islands on the Lake Chad. So far, 296 persons have been rescued and are undergoing profiling. The number is envisaged to increase as troops intensify clearance operations. In the
South-South/South-West, the situation of illegal oil bunkering, militancy and pipeline vandalism is on a decline in the Niger Delta following the effort of the Federal Government to engage stakeholders in dialogue. Similarly, Operation AWATSE has continued to dislodge militants and pipeline vandals from Arepo and other areas in Lagos and Ogun waterside.
The Council was also informed by the Honourable Minister that the United States of America conveyed to the Government of Nigeria information about the implementation of Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act Section 231. It is pertinent to state that the award of contract for the procurement of the Mi-35M helicopters was completed before the Act was signed into Law in August 2017.
In conclusion, the Honourable Minister suggested to the Council the need for Defence Headquarters to launch a Joint Task Force Operation similar to Operation SAFE HAVEN in Jos to cover Zamfara and Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State with its headquarters in Gusau, Zamfara State. The need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders. The urgent need for the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services to prosecute all the suspects arrested in the states. The need to hasten the establishment of a National Commission on the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria. The need to engage diplomatic channels to ensure US sanctions does not affect Nigeria.