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Security chiefs to go as governors seek new ideas

…NEC meets Thursday in Abuja

Govervors are set to push for a major overhaul of the nation’s security architecture, it was learnt yesterday.

A National Economic Council (NEC) meeting is to hold tomorrow. It will discuss the mounting security challenges that have seen kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism on the rise.

Also, to tackle the problem, President Muhammadu Buhari may soon order a military shake-up.

There has been pressure on the President to rejig the military apparatchik, thereby allowing fresh ideas.

Some of the Service chiefs have indicated interest to quit having been in office at the discretion of the President  after their mandatory 35 years in service.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the governors have been notified of the Thursday meeting with security as the main agenda.

It was learnt that the governors, who are members of NEC, are worried that the security problems nationwide are affecting the economy.

They feel that they should join hands with the Federal Government to resolve the security challenges.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The NEC members are certainly uncomfortable with the security challenges in the country. We want to brainstorm on Thursday (tomorrow) because we do not want to leave it to the President alone.

“There are many options, including FG-State joint financing of security initiatives; outstanding report on recommendations for state police; a major overhaul of the nation’s security architecture; more investment on intelligence; agitation for the shake-up of the military; increase in manpower in the police, military and security agencies;  and the involvement of locals in security network.

“We will certainly devote the whole day to weigh all options because insecurity is gradually taking a toll on the economy.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “It is within the purview of NEC to advise the President on issues which may impede the economy.”

Section H of the Third Schedule (Part 1) to the 1999 Constitution says: “The NEC shall comprise the following members — (a) Vice President; (b) the Governor of each State of the Federation; and (C) the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria established under the CBN Decree 1991 or any enactment replacing that Decree.

“The National Economic Council (NEC) shall have power to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various governments of the Federation.”

In spite of the NEC session, there were indications that President Muhammadu Buhari will soon effect a shake-up in the military.

Another highly-placed source added: “I think very soon, there will be a shake-up in the military as part of steps to rejig the nation’s security apparatchik.

“Stakeholders are making strong representations to the President to overhaul the military hierarchy for fresh ideas. Buhari may buy the idea.

“The interesting dimension is that some service chiefs are also willing to quit after attaining the mandatory age of 35 years in office. Surely, we need fresh initiatives.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice on the security situation in the country.

It  advised its citizens against travelling to Borno; Yobe; Adamawa; Gombe states; riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states; and within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.

“The FCO advises against all but essential travel to: Bauchi; Zamfara; Kano; Kaduna; Jigawa; Katsina; and Kogi state; within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi states; non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia states.

“There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for financial or political gain.

“There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi state.”

As at press time, it was learnt that Buhari has kept the governors in the dark on the appointment of ministers.

A governor said: “When we met with the President on Tuesday, he only thanked us for rallying around him to ensure the election of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and their deputies.

“He did not discuss the choice of ministers with us. The President kept mum on his next cabinet. We only advised the President to release the list on time because we have observed that those in the opposition have started capitalising on it. So, we are awaiting ministerial list like all Nigerians.”

SOURCE: The Nation