The Presidency on Monday listed various measures and initiatives put in place to counter the narrative that President Muhammadu Buhari had not done enough to combat insecurity across the country.
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity in a statement in Abuja, said it had become imperative by the presidency to correct misinformation about the nation’s security situation as “untruth begins to wear a garb of reality’’.
He said: “A popular refrain from some quarters is that the President is not doing enough to combat the insecurity that has beleaguered the country in recent times.
“Lest that untruth begins to wear a garb of reality, let us consider some initiatives taken under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the security situation, particularly since January, 2018.
“Leadership of the police deployed to Benue State, after mass killings reportedly committed by herdsmen.’’
He added that the deployment was followed by a fact-finding team led by the Minister of Interior, and deployment of Special Forces of the military, to restore law and order.
The presidential aide revealed that the National Economic Council (NEC) also inaugurated a 10-man committee on farmers/herdsmen clashes headed by the Vice President to address the problem of farmers/herdsmen clashes in the country.
He noted that the committee set up by the NEC on farmers/herdsmen clashes had in March submitted its report, making far reaching recommendations for peace, including ranching in five states.
He said that the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, launched a special operation, Karamin Goro (Small Kolanut).
Mr Adesina added that the Division inaugurated the operation in collaboration with the Air Force, Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to tackle kidnapping, robbery and cattle rustling in parts of Kaduna and Niger States (Minna-Birnin Gwari-Pandogari and Minna-Sarkin Pawa general areas).
He disclosed that in Feb. 2018 the Nigerian Army also commenced Exercise Ayem Akpatuma covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States, in order to tackle the cases of kidnappings, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, among others.
He, however, maintained that the Nigerian Army in March extended Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in Taraba by two months.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) inducted its first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Tsaigumi.
“The newly-inducted UAV has day-and-night capability, an operational endurance in excess of 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km,’’ the presidential aide revealed.
He said the equipment was capable of being used for policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline, power line monitoring as well as mapping and border patrol duties.
The presidential spokesman said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) established a total of 10 new Units as NAF had concluded plans to set up Quick Response Wings (QRWs) across Nasarawa State, in a bid to tackle the herders/farmers clashes plaguing some states within the axis.
Mr Adesina also disclosed that President Buhari had in March 2018 begun sympathy visits to states that had experienced wanton killings in the country.
According to Mr Adesina, in April 2018, the Nigerian Air Force, which took delivery of a second batch of 2 brand new Mi-35N helicopter gunships to boost internal security, deployed Special Force to Zamfara State to combat criminality
He also noted that the Nigeria Police Force in May 2018 inaugurated a Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba.
He said that the Nigerian Air Force had also established three new Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Taraba, Nasarawa and Benue States respectively and deployed Special Forces personnel to these new bases.
Taraba QRW is located in Nguroje; Nasarawa State QRW in Doma; and Benue QRW in Agatu.
Mr Adesina added that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ordered the deployment of 200 policemen, and 10 patrol vehicles to Birnin Gwari (Kaduna-Zamfara axis) to tackle armed banditry in the area.
Adesina further disclosed that President Buhari had approved the establishment of a new Battalion of the Nigerian Army, as well as a new Police Area Command, in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as part of measures to scale up the security response to the banditry affecting the area.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, has since launched the new Battalion (2 Battalion Forward Operating Base, FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.
“The Defence Headquarters assembled a Special Military Intervention Force comprising more than 1,000 personnel, drawn from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, DSS and NSCDC, to respond to the security challenges in the North-Central and North-West.
“On May 8, 2018, the Force launched Operation WHIRL STROKE, as a full-scale military operation to completely restore law, order and stability in the affected communities.
“The Whirl Stroke Operational Force Commander is Maj.-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini.
“The Chief of Army Staff inducted a mix of 49 Toyota Land Cruisers and Innoson gun trucks, at the HQ of the 133 Special Forces Battalion of the Nigerian Army at Azare, to support the ongoing OPERATION LAST HOLD in Northern Borno,’’ he added.
According to him, the NAF inaugurated its newly-constructed accommodation for the 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (CSARG).
CSARG was established in 2017 to provide aid and operational assistance to wounded and distressed troops serving in combat units.
He said: “The Air Task Force of NAF commenced Operation THUNDER STRIKE to attack selected locations of Boko Haram Terrorists in the North-East.
“The Nigerian Army commissioned its new Forward Operating Base in Epe, Lagos State.
“In June 2018, NAF deployed combat helicopter to its 207 Quick Response Group (QRG) in Gusau, Zamfara State to support the fight against armed banditry in the town and its environs’’
He said that President Buhari had in July 2018 approved the establishment of Operation WHIRL STROKE II, for deployment in Zamfara and Kaduna states.
The presidential aide maintained that securing in the length and breadth of the country was a continuing commitment and “one of the key pledges of the Buhari administration, which it is carrying out night and day.’’
Adesinsa recalled that in May 2015, when the administration emerged, the security situation in the country “was in tatters.’’
He said: “It pulled up its bootstraps, rolled up its sleeves, set to work, and the Boko Haram insurgency was beaten back. It was eventually degraded.
“Other security challenges are being tackled and will subsequently become history.
“Not doing enough, as some critics claim, is not part of the deal, nor is it reality, no, not by any stretch of the imagination.
“A lot is being done, and success is guaranteed.’’