President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sounded the death knell for bandits terrorising the country, saying his administration would be harder on the criminals as part of efforts to improve security in the country.
Accordingly, the president said he has given marching orders to security chiefs to go harder on the criminals, including shooting anyone found illegally with AK-47.
The president spoke at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the presidential villa.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
Buhari who apprised the meeting with efforts by the government to improve the security situation in the country said his administration has recorded appreciable successes in the North East and South South parts of the country.
He noted: “But what surprises is what is happening now in the North West where the same people, with the same culture are killing each other, taking their livestock and burning properties.
“As a result of that, we had a four-hour meeting of the National Security Council attended by the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Service Chiefs, Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of Police and others and we gave clear instructions.
“One thing that got to the press which I read myself was that anyone with an AK-47 will be shot. This is because AK-47 is supposed to be registered and it is only given to security officials.
“We closed the borders for some years but the intelligence report I’m getting on a daily basis is that those who are conducting the abductions, the killings and so on are still not short of arms and ammunition”.
The president expressed dismay on the attacks on police stations and killings of security personnel by criminals, warning that no investor will invest in a country that is unsafe.
He also stressed the need for traditional rulers to use their roles and positions as bridge builders in each of their communities to complement government efforts at ensuring peace and security.
In separate remarks, the royal fathers stressed the need for the traditional institution to be assigned definite roles, particularly on peace and security, within the ambit of the Constitution as well as regular engagement with the National Assembly on multiple fronts.
The meeting was attended by security chiefs, including the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd); Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the director-general of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the director-general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The following royal fathers made interventions at the meeting: Sultan of Sokoto, the Ooni of Ife, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe; the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; King Jaja of Opobo, Dr Dandeson Douglas Jaja; Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu; Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Iliyasu and the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi.
Speaking to State House correspondents on their behalf, the Etsu Nupe disclosed that they harped on the need for the government to urgently address the situation.
Abubakar said, “We gathered ourselves and feel that yes, there is a need for us to come and let the President know that the situation is telling very hard on our people and there is a need to take urgent and immediate steps to actually check the situation.”