The security report coming from North-eastern Nigeria is worrisome, the federal government has said.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, stated this when he briefed journalists at the end of a meeting of security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Dan-Ali said the meeting was a routine security briefing with Mr Buhari, and an update of the August 2 meeting held before the president’s departure to London for vacation.
Mr Buhari returned from London on Saturday.
At the meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari directed security chiefs in the country to step up their game, an official said after the almost three hours meeting.
The meeting started at about 11.30 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. in the State House, Abuja. It is one of Mr Buhari’s first major assignments since returning from London on Saturday.
“The decision that has been taken is that we have seen that there is a lot of improvement in the security situation in the country more especially in Zamfara and Benue state and in the Niger Delta,” Mr Dan-Ali said.
“In the North-east, we are having worrisome report, we have looked into it critically and we have taken absolute decision,” he said without elaborating on the “absolute decisions” taken.
The North-east is the part of Nigeria most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. The terror group’s activities have been largely limited to the three North-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe by security forces.
Despite the efforts of the soldiers, however, the terror group is still able to carry out attacks on soldiers and civilians.
A latest attack was reported by Reuters on Sunday. The attack left at least 19 people killed in the early hours of Sunday.
The attack was said to have occurred in Mailari village in the Guzamala region of Borno State.
An aid worker at a camp who received some survivors, and who declined to be identified, put the death toll at 63, Reuters reports
At the end of Monday’s meeting with Mr Buhari, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, said the president asked security agencies to up their game to ensure that the nation is safe and people go about their daily activities without fear.
“We just had two and half hours meeting with the President and Commander in Chief. We reviewed the security situation across the country in all the geopolitical zones and of course we made all our comments, especially the new operations in Benue, Zamfara, Taraba ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ and Operation Saradaji.
“We gave the extent of successes in these operations and we are to continue in this line of action in these operations.
“All the operations were reviewed and all the issues concerning the operations were dealt with. And he directed that we should continue to step up our game to ensure that the nation is safe and people go about their daily activities in a very safe manner.”
The meeting was attended by the acting head of the State Security Service, Matthew Seiyefa. Mr Seiyefa was appointed while Mr Buhari was in London following the sack of Lawal Daura by then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Mr Daura, a kinsman of Mr Buhari, was axed for authorizing a siege on the National Assembly, which the presidency said it did not approve of.
Others in attendance at Monday’s meeting were Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser; Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadique.
Ahmed Abubakar, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency; and Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, were also present at the meeting.