Defence & Security

Traditional, religious leaders should provide intelligence to tackle terrorists – Buhari

By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, and Blessing Oziwo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has said traditional rulers and religious leaders ought to provide credible intelligence for security agencies to help in tackling insecurity in the country The Trumpet gathered.

The President said this on Thursday while speaking at an Iftar dinner with religious and traditional rulers at the State House, Abuja. He added that his administration would continue to count on the invaluable advice and guidance of members of the revered institutions towards improving the current security challenges in the country.

Buhari noted that moving Nigeria forward remains a collective responsibility, thereby urging leaders at all levels to contribute meaningfully to making the country a better and safe place.

He said, ”Today, insecurity is one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria’s existence. This administration has invested more resources than any other to tackle insecurity.

”We have acquired advanced equipment for our armed forces and the police to strengthen their capacity to confront terrorism and banditry. We have made adequate budgetary allocations for security.

”Whatever the security agencies request I make it available to them immediately.

”But insecurity is a worldwide phenomenon. The cure and the answer is for all sections of society to do their bit and confront the criminals head-on.

”The success of our armed and other security forces also depends on intelligence about the activities of bandits and terrorists.

”Those aiding and abetting terrorists are helping to destroy their own communities.

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‘”Our traditional and religious leaders have a key role to play in terms of improving intelligence gathering about the movement of and activities of criminals in their domain.”

While noting that the challenges confronting the country are surmountable, the President recounted that when this administration came on board in 2015, the local governments occupied and controlled by terrorists were recovered through the determined efforts of government and the cooperation of local leadership.

”A similar effort is required now for all localities to work in full cooperation with security agents and Insha Allah. We shall see the back of this problem soon,” he said.

In his response, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, commended the timely response of the Buhari administration in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it is symbolic that when the country looks inward it can surmount many of its challenges.

”Mr President, thank you for inviting us for Iftar. I remember vividly that last year we couldn’t meet to break the Ramadan fast because of the COVID-19 pandemic and we pray that such will never come our way again,” he said.

The Ooni urged Nigerians to use the Holy month of Ramadan to always strive for unity, and celebrate the strength of Nigeria’s diversity.

”We have so many positives to celebrate in our country. Yes, there are challenges but let us look more on our strengths than our weaknesses,” he added.

Barr. Joseph Daramola, the General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said he believed that ”God is at work in Nigeria,” noting that there were spiritual lessons to learn on nation-building from the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan and the Christian Lenten period that just ended with the Easter celebration.

”The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is able to bring our nation back to life, making every situation that looks impossible, possible,” the CAN scribe said.

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