NSA, Services chiefs, North’s governors strategise on security

National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, 19 northern governors and Service chiefs yesterday met to strategise on how to effectively deal with worsening insecurity.
The meeting, which lasted for over four hours at the Office of the NSA, began at about 1:30 pm.

Present were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Hassan Abubakar.

Also present were the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, and the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Matawalle.

Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State said the meeting was convened to review strategies and explore alternatives.

He said the governors were disposed to supporting both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to tackling the security challenges.

“The military and all other security agencies have been doing their best.

“What we need to do is to change the style, especially adding the non-kinetic approach, so that at the end of it when we join the two, we’ll have a better security situation in the country,” Yahaya said.

Terrorists had on March 7 abducted 287 primary and secondary school pupils in Kuriga, Kaduna State.

Also, 112 internally displaced persons were abducted in Gamboru Ngala, Borno, while 16 Quranic school students were kidnapped in Sokoto.

Ribadu seeks community action

Also yesterday, Ribadu called for a community-driven reintegration and reconciliation process for repentant members of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in the Northeast.

He spoke at the launch of European Union (EU) Support for Disengagement, Review, Reintegration and Reconciliation of Persons Formerly Associated with NSAGs in Northeast Nigeria (SD3R) in Abuja.

He said his office would continue to coordinate efforts towards the prevention of violent extremism.

The NSA welcomed the EU initiative, saying it was imperative to sensitise communities, conduct town hall meetings and enhance the capacity of government agencies and communities to prevent the emergence of new conflicts.

He said the SD3R project was conceived to promote peace and stability in the Northeast through a community-driven reintegration and reconciliation process.

Ribadu explained that the project would support the investigation and prosecution of individuals accused of terrorism offences in the region, to ensure accountability and redress.

He lauded the EU for its support to the Federal Government, especially in counter-terrorism and project funding.

Ribadu also commended the governors of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe for providing an enabling environment in their states for the first phase of the project.

“It is important to note that the SD3R project is a continuation of the first one, the S2R project, being implemented in the three states by a consortium of four United Nations agencies.

“These are the International Organisation for Migration, UNICEF, UNDP and UNODC, which came on board as a new partner to support the criminal justice system component of the project.

“It is also to be noted that the excellent cooperation and collaboration between the Government of Nigeria, EU and UN system on the DDRR and other projects led to the success of the first phase for us at the office for the NSA.”

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno commended the stakeholders for identifying the root causes of insurgency.

He said Northeast states must take ownership of the projects, which were designed to address the social, economic and political dimensions of the crisis.

According to Zulum, some of the root causes of insurgency were poverty, climate vulnerabilities and infrastructure deficit.

He advocated a bottom-top approach to addressing the crisis and in handling the resultant humanitarian crisis.

EU Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, said healing and reconciliation could be achieved in the sub-region if all work together, leveraging on collective expertise.

She said the EU was happy to support the process in the hope that it would rebuild broken bridges within families and communities.

According to her, the project is part of the broader EU support to the Lake Chad region which amounts to 2.5 billion Euros since 2014.

Its implementation would leverage the expertise and experience of the four UN agencies involved, she added.

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