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Kidnapping Crises: NSA, Service Chiefs, Northern Governors Meet Behind Closed Doors

In response to the kidnapping crises in Nigeria, the meeting is between the northern governors…

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Kidnapping Crises: NSA, Service Chiefs, Northern Governors Meet Behind Closed Doors

In response to the kidnapping crises in Nigeria, the meeting is between the northern governors, the service chiefs and the National Security Adviser.

The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, and some governors from the Northern states, on Thursday night, held a closed-door meeting to discuss the kidnapping crises and rising insecurity in the country.

Although the agenda of the meeting was not officially disclosed, it was reliably gathered that the discussion centred on strategic plans on how to rescue the internally displaced persons, schoolchildren and Tsangaya students recently abducted by terrorists in Borno, Kaduna and Sokoto states respectively.

But the Defence Headquarters, on Thursday, confirmed that security forces were receiving foreign support and intelligence in the ongoing efforts to rescue hundreds of abducted school children in Kaduna.

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However, the meeting by the nation’s security heads, which started at about 1:30pm came on the heels of a marching order by President Bola Tinubu to the security forces to rescue the children unhurt and without paying a dime as ransom.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, had conveyed the president’s message on Wednesday that the federal government would not pay any money as ransom to the terrorists, who had earlier demanded N40trn.

Speaking after the meeting, which ended at about 6pm, Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, said the meeting was convened to discuss and review strategies towards tackling cases of insecurity in the North.

“The essence of the meeting as you can see is between the governors and the service chiefs and the National Security Adviser.

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“So, it relates to security and you know security is very typical, especially that there were the recent issues of kidnapping in the North-West and we are becoming so concerned that we need to discuss, review and possibly take alternative options to what we have been doing before so that we can have a better result,” he said.

The governor added that the need for a collaborative approach to tackling insecurity in the region necessitated the meeting, stressing the need for non-kinetic and kinetic approaches to address the remote causes of insecurity.

Yahaya noted that the security agencies were doing their best, but there was the need for a non-kinetic approach to address the root causes of the problem.

“In fact, that’s the best way to go because the issue is until we join the two (approaches) and already the service chiefs and all other security agencies have been doing their best.

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“So what we need to do is to change style, especially in addition with the non-kinetic approach, so that at the end of it when we join the two, we’ll have a better security situation in the country,” he said.

A highly-placed official within the security agencies confided in THISDAY that the meeting had Governors Uba Sani (Kaduna), Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Radda Dikko (Katsina), and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), among others in attendance.

THISDAY had reported how terrorists abducted 287 students from a primary and secondary school in Kuriga, Kaduna State on March 7, while 112 IDPs in Gamboru Ngala, Borno, were also abducted by terrorists.

The abduction of 15 Quranic school students in Sokoto State followed the Kuriga incident, a development several bodies had condemned.

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The DHQ, on Thursday, said security forces were receiving foreign support and intelligence in the ongoing efforts to rescue hundreds of abducted school children in Kaduna.

It said security agencies would not rest until the kidnap victims were returned even as it attributed the delay in response time to the absence of timely information to the troops.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the Director, Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj Gen Edward Buba, said security forces received intelligence support from international partners.

“Given the hostage situation, it can be deduced that the search and rescue effort was grossly affected by the none timely notification of troops of the incident. Nevertheless, I can assure you that we will not rest until these hostages are returned,” he said.

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He declared that troops would ensure that the kidnap victims were returned as their rescue remained top priority.

“I can further assure that getting these hostages back is very clearly on the top of our priorities. It is for this reason we have leveraged on our international partners for support.

“Accordingly, they are providing the necessary support including intelligence that is giving us the advantage in dealing with the ugly situation,” he said.

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Buba attributed the resort to mass kidnapping by terrorists as a result of the onslaught by troops, which forced the insurgents to attack soft targets.

“We made things difficult for them so they have gone for soft targets as part of their recruitment drive

“We will not rest until all of those hostages are returned. We have intelligence and support from our foreign partners but because it’s an ongoing operation we will not provide further details,” he said.

Buba further noted that, “terrorists have exhibited gross cowardice. We have taken out many of their commanders. They switch into soft targets to protect themselves. We will not rest until all these hostages return.”

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He also disclosed that the hostages were held in difficult locations.

“These hostages are being held in locations that are difficult to get to, but not out of reach. The situation is however indicative of the desperation of these terrorists to avoid troops onslaught by all means.

“Recall that in recent times troops have decimated several of the terrorist leaders, commander and foot soldiers. We are fast closing in one several others.

“These terrorists have exhibited cowardice by going for such soft targets to impede troop advances. I assure you that we will not rest until they are returned,” he assured.

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Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Kingsley Nwezeh, Michael Olugbode and Olawale Ajimotokan

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