The Federal Government through the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has queried the ease with which bandits continue to move their victims from scenes of abductions, passing through towns and villages to their dens in the forests unhindered.
Aregbesola said, it remains a wonder as to how they avoid the eyes of residents and security operatives during such tortuous movements.
He spoke on Thursday in Abuja shortly after decorating the newly-promoted Deputy Commandants General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC as well as Deputy Controllers General of the Nigerian Correctional Service NCoS and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
He said; “You are coming on board at a period of great national security challenge. Though you are paramilitary agencies, quite strangely, the public expects you to solve Nigeria’s security challenges. The Ministry of Interior is always on the mouth of commentators and analysts when the security situation in the country is being mentioned. This is to let you know the great expectations people have of you.
“We have been in the throes of bandits, insurgents and other baddies, draining resources and psychic energy. Our agencies must rise to the plate. NSCDC in particular should maximise their grassroots penetration for intelligence gathering. The criminals live in our homes, offices, farms, bushes and forests. They roam our streets and engage in day-to-day activities with us. On the surface, they are just as ordinary and uniform like the rest of us.
“I will find it difficult to believe that it is possible to take such a large number of students through a reasonably long distance on open trucks and motorcycles without anyone seeing them along the way. It will be hard also to believe that some other Nigerians are not aware of their dens and the nefarious activities going on there as we speak.
“These challenges also extend to managing our borders. NIS has been doing a yeoman’s job but more needs to be done. A large chunk of the responsibility of containing COVID-19 and national security challenges falls on the NIS. Preventing those likely to do us harm from passing through our borders will forever remain a challenge. That is why you are there.
“Criminals will keep getting more sophisticated in order to be ahead of you; but in order to beat them, you have to be ahead of their game at all times. Playing catch up with criminals can be deadly and very costly. Keeping out known and unknown criminals out of our borders is therefore an unfinished business. You cannot rest on your oars.
“Given our present situation, the Correctional Service has the additional mandate of preventing the current security challenges from getting into our custodial centres. A pattern has emerged of coordinated attacks on our custodial centres, putting our collective safety in jeopardy. Last week, I declared our facilities red zones and gave our squadron commanders the marching orders to defend them by all means necessary. You have to put the fear of God into anyone that intends to violate any of our facilities from inside or outside.