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Details are emerging from the closed-door security meeting convened by President Muhammadu BUHARI at the State House in Abuja yesterday.


The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has revealed some of the issues that were raised at the meeting in a statement signed by his Public Relations Officer, Colonel Tukur Gusau.


According to a copy of the statement obtained by our correspondent, the Defence Minister is reported to have raised alarm over incessant killings and kidnappings by armed bandits across Nigeria.


Mansur Dan-Ali particularly made reference to the wave of criminal activities in the North-West, which he said was becoming alarming and worrisome.


Dan-Ali specifically mentioned the situation along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway as a source of concern due to the frequent incidence of mass kidnappings of travellers in recent times.


He also underscored the upsurge in incidents of security concern in Zamfara State, characterized with killings and kidnappings around Anka, Maru, Kaura Namoda and Talata Mafara local government areas.


In the North-Central states, the Defence Minister observed that incidents of clashes between armed herdsmen and farmers in Benue and Taraba states have reduced considerably.


He said several arrests have been made in connection with the killings and destruction of properties, while in the North-East, the Boko Haram Terrorists activities have been contained, resulting in significant improvement in security in the Zone.


For the South-South and South-West geopolitical zones, the Defence Minister noted that illegal oil bunkering, militancy and pipeline vandalism were on a decline in the Niger Delta.


He attributed the feat to efforts by the Federal Government to engage stakeholders in dialogue, while security operatives deployed under “Operation AWATSE” in the South-West, have continued to dislodge militants and pipeline vandals from Arepo and other areas in Lagos and Ogun waterside.


In conclusion, the Defence Minister suggested to the National Security Council the need for Defence Headquarters to launch a Joint Task Force Operation similar to Operation SAFE HAVEN in Jos to cover Zamfara and Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State.


He also called for the suspension of implementation of Anti-Open Grazing Law in the affected states, while at the same time stepping up negotiations for safe routes for herders as a means to reduce tension in the areas.


Furthermore; the Security Council was informed about the urgent need for the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services to prosecute all the suspects arrested in the states.


The council also discussed the need to hasten the establishment of a National Commission on the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons as well as ways to engage diplomatic channels to ensure that United States sanctions do not affect Nigeria.

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