President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met, behind closed doors, with the Northern Traditional rulers led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari, at the meeting, explained that the Ministry of Police Affairs he established was part of the measures to tackle security challenges in the country.
He said that the entire structure of the Nigerian Police Force was being overhauled, re-positioned and primed with modern technological gadgets to meet rising challenges across the nation, while an intelligence loop among all security outfits has been created.
According to him, the ongoing reform of the police will include recruitment of more hands, cultivation of stronger local intelligence and networking with communities, traditional rulers and adequate training.
He noted that the return of the Ministry of Police Affairs was purposely to drive the new initiative of ensuring proper provision of security for lives and property, with proactive intelligence gathering to nip crimes in the bud before they escalate.
He said, “I have decided to meet with Your Highnesses to assure you that government is determined to tackle and deal decisively with all security challenges facing us as a nation.
“This consultation therefore is to engage you, our royal fathers, so that, collectively, we can arrive at solutions to any and all security problems in the country.
“We must all play our part to finally address these security challenges, particularly traditional rulers, in your respective communities, where you feel the pulse of the people, being the closest to the populace at the grassroots level.”
President Buhari urged the traditional rulers to provide more support to security agencies with their versatile knowledge of communities and individuals.
He said, “These policies and programmes include a robust revamping of police intelligence gathering capacity and the significant boosting of the numbers of security personnel in our local communities.
“This in specific terms will include recruiting more police officers and doing so whenever possible from their local government areas, where they would then be stationed in the best traditions of policing world-wide.
“Working with the State governments also, we intend to improve the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate their work. To drive this, I recently created a full-fledged Ministry of Police Affairs.
“As I said during my meeting with the Traditional Rulers from the South-West, directives have been issued to the appropriate federal authorities to speedily approve licensing for States requesting the use of drones to monitor forests and other criminal hideouts.”
The President said CCTVs will be installed on highways and other strategic locations so that activities in some hidden places can be exposed, more effectively monitored and open to actionable interventions.
In his remark, the Sultan of Sokoto assured the President of the full support of traditional rulers in the country.
He said, “We have come to assure you of our total support, total commitment and undiluted dedication to moving the nation forward as one of the best countries of the world.”
He said the traditional thrones in various communities predated the amalgamation of the protectorates, and all the forefathers had always upheld the virtues of peace, unity and stability, assuring the President that royal fathers across the country had been in constant communication on the security challenges, promising to support the government to succeed.
The Sultan commended Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara for the relative peace in the state after he was sworn into office, and decided to open up all channels of communication, urging other governors to adopt same model.
He also called on the President to strengthen the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for more effective monitoring of drug-related situations in the country for correction and prosecutions.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has attributed the continuous attacks on Borno communities by the insurgents to the porous nature of Nigeria borders.
Governor Zulum stated this while briefing State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent Boko Haram onslaught on some communities in the state at the Presidential Villa.
He noted that the state borders three countries, Republic of Chad, Niger and Cameron which has made it very difficult to man the area.
The Governor said that the composition of the insurgents cuts across different ethnic groups, adding that even expatriates have become members of the terrorist groups.
He said that his administration was having discussions with the traditional rulers, community and religious leaders with the view to identifying repentant Boko Haram members so as to reintegrate them into the system.
The governor further said that poverty and unemployment were among the root causes of the security challenges in the country.