Nigerians should expect a more secure country soon, National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa and Inspector-General of Police Olukayode Egbetokun assured yesterday.
Ribadu spoke after receiving the baton from Maj-Gen Babagana Mongunu (rtd) yesterday.
He pledged to subdue threats and achieve a stabilised country.
He added: “We will stabilise this country. We will secure our country and we will make Nigeria peaceful.
“We believe the time has come for this country to enjoy peace, restore order and rule of law just like any other country in the world.
“Securing the nation is a continuous process. We will look at what has been done and build on it.
“We will count on your (Nigerians’) support in discharging our responsibilities.
“Mr. President has a huge commitment to securing every inch of our country. We will work with all stakeholders to deliver on this vision.
“This enormous task of securing our country is that of all Nigerians and all friends of Nigeria.”
Monguno said Ribadu is well-equipped to deliver on the job.
He said the ever-changing 21st security environment demands a complex approach to dealing with it.
“Today, we are dealing with a situation in which we have terrorists and insurrectionists.
“The way and manner you will deal with the situation are such that you will have to rely on a collection of competent staff,” the former NSA said.
CDS Maj.-Gen. Musa said the military under his leadership will restore peace.
He spoke when he led the Service chiefs on a visit to the Ministry of Defence.
“We all know the challenges facing the country. I and the Service chiefs have come a long way.
“They joined me at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in 1987 and we have gone through so many challenges, promises and successes. We thank God for the opportunity to serve our nation.
“When we were young we looked forward to changing things, and now the mantle of leadership is thrown to us.
“Severely, while serving punishment, we would sit and grumble that things were not working.
“Now, to the glory of God, we have been saddled with the responsibility to face those challenges and proffer solutions.
“We assure you that we’ll put in our very best. Our loyalty is no other than to Nigeria.
“We want Nigeria to be peaceful. We grew up when Nigeria was peaceful and we know how it looks and we want to ensure that our children also have a country they will be proud of.
“We assure the Commander-in-Chief of our complete loyalty; unalloyed loyalty to his mandate.”
Egbetokun said a new elite squad will be set up for special operations.
He said the special squad will comprise 40,000 specially trained elite officers from various formations.
The IGP spoke at a meeting with the squadron, special protection and tactical commanders at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
The select officers, the IG said, will undergo intensive pre-deployment training to make them combat-ready.
Egbetokun said: “These officers will not perform routine police duties but will be housed and kept combat-ready at all times engaging in daily training in readiness for deployments to intercept and neutralise high-profile criminals and those terrorising our communities.
“They will be deployed to intervene rapidly and proactively in any situation necessary in their states of assignment.
“All tactical commanders will be involved in the process of identifying suitable candidates from within their respective units.
“These individuals should possess the necessary skills, agility, experience, character, and commitment to excel in the challenging and demanding environments they will encounter.
“The new special squad will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to combat evolving criminal activities, insurgency, and other security threats, especially the activities of non-state actors.
“We will henceforth be more proactive and be ready to take the fight to the criminals’ den.
“Furthermore, in order to optimise the efficiency of our resources, we shall carry out a re-evaluation of the responsibilities assigned to the PMF.”
Egbetokun said PMF personnel will be withdrawn from VIP escort/guard duties.
“By relieving the PMF of VIP escort and guard duties, we can redirect their focus and efforts toward addressing critical security concerns that affect our communities at large.
“To this end, a special committee headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) has been set up to assess and advise on how this strategy can be implemented seamlessly.
“The committee is expected to submit its report in two weeks after which further details will be made available.
“Our goal should be to enforce the law and to be partners in creating safe communities, nurturing an environment where everyone feels protected and valued. This is our commitment to Nigerians.”
The IGP said the withdrawn PMF officers will be replaced by officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) only where necessary.
He also warned officers and men as to their conduct.
“Those who keep the peace must be the epitome of peace. Those whose duty it is to enforce the laws of the land must themselves respect and obey the laws of the land.
“Without obeying the laws, the Police lack the moral high ground to interrogate and bring lawbreakers to book,” Egbetokun said.
The IGP directed that henceforth, all police convoys on routine, non-emergency movement, must obey traffic lights and other traffic rules.
He added: “I pledge to lead by example in this regard.”