By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the commitment of his administration to end the lingering war against terrorism in the country, saying that normalcy is gradually returning to the northeastern part of the country.
The President said this while giving a security appraisal in a message he sent to Muslims to mark Eid, stating that as the Holy month of Ramadan reaches its end, so the end to terrorism approaches.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the challenges of banditry and kidnapping are being tackled differently in the North-western and North Central states.
Buhari said, “After a period of fasting and reflection, this year, we have cause to welcome the occasion in hope. The battle waged against terrorists who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam is approaching its conclusion.
“The fight has been long and hard. Final victory is within sight. Boko Haram and its offshoots’ final embers are now fading.
“Last month, the leader of ISWAP was killed in an airstrike. Since the New Year, thousands of fighters have surrendered to enter rehabilitation programmes. The territories they used to occupy are now seeing the return of those who were forced to flee their barbarity. Normality is finally beginning to return to the Northeast. It is a long process. Yet it is one we are, together, now embarking upon.
“With the designation of bandit groups as terrorists, the challenges of banditry and kidnapping are being tackled differently in the North-western and North Central states where the latest military acquisitions and the Armed Forces are being fanned out across the region to thwart acts of terror.
“The administration is equally getting impressive reports of the special operations to curb crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the South-South, with millions of illegally refined products being impounded and illegal refineries destroyed.
“While we are making progress cleaning the environment, some evil people are busy causing more pollution and destruction.
‘‘In response to the disturbing rise in criminal attacks targeting law enforcement and public facilities in the South East, concerted military operations to rid the region of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) elements have, in recent weeks, led to the overrunning of IPOB/ESN bases, the seizure of weapons and the arrest of a large number of suspects.’’
The President approved the establishment of a Naval Base in Oguta, Imo State.
“The reinvigoration of the war against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking is also showing positive results as shown by the arrest of over 12,300 offenders including seven drug barons; the conviction of 1,400, counseling and rehabilitation of about 8,000 drug users.
“The seizure of over 3.4 million kilograms of drugs and cash worth over N130 billion, all in 2021 has been recorded while the first Quarter of this year has seen the arrest of no fewer than 3,536 offenders including security personnel and a well-known billionaire drug baron. The seizure of more than 65,000 tons of assorted drugs in this period sets a record for the nation.’’
It is with a view to giving impetus to the concerned agency that President Buhari granted approvals for the promotion of more than 3,500 officers, the procurement of operational equipment, training for personnel and buildings for residential barracks.
The President also directed increased coordination and cooperation among security agencies, saying that an end has been brought to a silo approach among the agencies, assuring that there will be no shortage of funds to provide security for the citizens.
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