National Security Council meeting continues

The National Security Council (NSC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, may continue Wednesday.

There was no press briefing or statement at the end of the meeting, which first held last Friday.

The Senate shifted its proposed meeting with Service Chiefs and heads of security agencies to tomorrow.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, during plenary, said the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, and the Service Chiefs were at the meeting.

The Senate had invited them for a security briefing.

“Today (yesterday), the National Security Council is continuing its meeting that it started last week. Therefore the invited security heads will not be able to come for the briefing.

“We are not sure if they will finish their meeting today (Tuesday). We assume it could spill to Wednesday too,” he said.

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At the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno.

Also present were Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Defense Major-General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd.), Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Minister of Police Affairs Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi.

Others were Chief of Defense Staff General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Ishiaka Oladayo Amoo.

The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Alkali Usman, Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Bichi, Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Samuel Adebayo, were also in attendance.

Also on Tuesday, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said in a statement that the security situation was deteriorating.

He called for the recall of ex-servicemen to boost the anti-terror war, and for a better arming and motivation of the armed forces.

Atiku said: “Now is the time for decisive leadership and I call on the Federal Government to consider recalling all ex-servicemen and women, who are willing to return to service, and take the fight to the insurgents until they are rolled back and defeated.

“As a former vice-chairman of the National Security Council, I am aware that Nigeria has a sizeable population of military veterans, who are alive, and were trained locally and internationally.

“It serves no purpose to allow these valuable national assets lie fallow when there is an existential threat to our nation.

“Call them up. Immediately. Mobilise them to the field. The time has come for us to put in all our effort and stamp out this menace from our nation.

“The men and women of Nigeria’s armed forces, whether serving or retired, who restored peace to Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe can and should be used to do the same in the motherland.

“But they need arms and ammunition. It is incumbent on the Federal Government to develop a more efficient means of sourcing weapons and delivering them to the troops at the battlefront.

“A situation where terrorists and criminals are better armed than our troops on the battlefront is intolerable.

“We need to urgently improve the conditions of service of the men and women of our armed forces. And not just the government.

“The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, working in concert with primary mortgage institutions, ought to offer the men and women of our armed forces special concessionary mortgage loans so they can own homes.

“The private sector should also be encouraged to offer discounted services to them in appreciation of their services. There is no sacrifice greater than to lay down your life for the motherland.

“When our military is properly rewarded, they will fight more valiantly and gallantly. A nation that rewards courage avoids outrage.”

<<The Nation>>