Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, says Nigeria is at war with criminals.
Speaking during a Channels TV programme on Sunday, the senator said the country’s security challenges have gone beyond Boko Haram insurgency to other crimes in various parts of the country.
There has been rising insecurity across the country — from kidnapping to the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks and banditry.
Despite the challenges, the presidency says the security situation under the Buhari administration is better than before 2015.
Ndume expressed worry that insecurity has persisted in recent times, and that the police and the armed forces are not well equipped and motivated to handle the situation.
“Nigerians think it is Borno state that is at war, and the armed forces, but that is not the case. Nigerians are supposed to know we are in a state of war,” he said.
“I think that it is high time for the government and Nigerians in general to see that Nigeria is at war with criminals. And this is not a conventional war.
“And attention should be focused more on solving these insecurity challenges that is not only affecting the north-east now but spreading to other areas and has made Nigerians so frustrated and you can see that Nigerians are taking to the streets to demonstrate.”
Ndume also said the country’s security challenges can be addressed if only the government gets “more serious” in handling the situation, beginning with the recruitment of more security personnel.
“The police we have in this country is not up to 400,000; the Nigerian army and armed forces that we have is around 150,000 with around 6,000 officers,” he said.
“But the situation we are facing here with banditry here and there, with the police and army not well equipped and not well motivated, there is the need to face this challenge seriously.”
‘WE THOUGHT BOKO HARAM HAD BEEN ELIMINATED’
The senator, whose senatorial district is one of the worst hit by Boko Haram insurgency, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration was able to defeat Boko Haram after it took power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but that the insurgents resurfaced later.
“When this government took over, virtually all our local governments in Borno state, about 22, were occupied by Boko Haram,” he said.
“When this government came in, Boko Haram was chased out, decimated and we thought it was even eliminated; it has been defeated but not eliminated.
“But recently, there is a resurgence of the insurgents in the north-east and particularly Borno state. But I still have the belief that the insurgency or the security challenges we are facing in this country can be addressed if the government becomes more serious and put in more resources.”
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