The Federal Government yesterday assured Nigerians that the worst of insecurity in the country was over.
It said the killing of 66 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, arrest of 96, and surrendering of 3,407 were pointed to the fact the war against terrorists and other criminals was yielding positive results.
But the assurance came less than a day after gunmen killed a bus driver and abducted eight of his passengers in Rivers State. Also, terrorists detained a ‘go-between, who delivered N7 million for the release of a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in their custody.
Also, yesterday, Internal Affairs Minister Rauf Aregbesola told a House of Representatives joint committee that security operatives failed to prevent the July 5, 2022 invasion of Kuje Custodial Centre, Abuja, despite elaborate preparations beforehand.
The government, which also said that 52 civilians were rescued in the last four weeks, stated that the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway had been cleared of terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers.
It added that despite the successes so far recorded, there would not be a cessation of hostilities against terrorists, kidnappers, and oil thieves.
These were made known at a joint news briefing in Abuja by four ministers and the Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), Gen. Leo Irabor.
The ministers are Lai Mohammed (Information); Bashir Magashi (Defence); Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi (Police Affairs) and Aregbesola.
Mohammed, who briefed reporters first, said: “As you are all aware, the issue of security has dominated our national discourse in recent times, against the background of the terrorism, banditry, and kidnapping in the Northeast, Northwest, and Northcentral; separatist violence and crude oil theft in the Southeast and Southsouth as well as cultism, armed robbery and sundry crimes in the Southwest.
“We may not be there yet but our military and other security agencies have succeeded – and are succeeding – in substantially restoring security across the nation.
“As far as the daunting security challenges we face are concerned, we can tell you that the worst is over.
“Never again will terrorists and bandits and their cohorts hold sway in our country.
“We are not saying the battle is over. No. What we are saying is that our military and other security agents have been able to contain the daunting security challenges we face and that the worst is indeed over.
“We have now put the terrorists, bandits, and their ilk on the run and we will not relent until they have been crushed.
“I want to repeat, that the worst is over and peace and security are gradually returning to the land.”
Magashi put the number of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists killed by troops in the past month at 66
He said: “In the past four weeks, more than 3,407 Boko Haram terrorists, including members of their families, have surrendered.
“Additionally, 66 terrorists were neutralised, including one of key ISWAP Commanders, Alhaji Modu Bem-Bem, and 20 of his fighters, while 55 were arrested and 52 civilians were rescued.
“The surrendered and arrested terrorists have been subjected to profiling and legal processes.
On the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, he said “I am pleased to inform you that it (highway) has been secured through a combined effort of the Armed Forces, the Police, and other security agencies.”
Police Affairs Minister Dingyadi said between July and August, the nation “recorded 773 armed robbery cases, 540 incidents of kidnapping, 3,994 other crimes.”
His words: “The security situation in Nigeria has been reasonably stable in spite of activities of unpatriotic elements engaged in various criminal activities.
In his presentation, Aregbesola said the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) made 501 arrests, prosecuted 452 cases, and destroyed 71 illegal refineries.
On fire incidents across the country, he warned that “touts and undesirable elements” who obstruct firefighting trucks risked being killed.
“We will attack you (touts and undesirable elements) in a manner you will not live to tell the story. We will kill you,” he said.