The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday in Abuja urged paramilitary agencies under his ministry to rise to the challenge of insecurity in the country.
Aregbesola spoke at the decoration of eight newly promoted officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“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,” Aregbesola said.
Decrying the reign of bandits, insurgents and other criminals in the land, the minister said that the agencies “must step up to the plate”.
He said that it was hard to believe that kidnappers could openly move a large number of students through long distances without being spotted or reported
Aregbesola added that he did not also believe that Nigerians were unaware of criminals’ camps in their communities and the nefarious activities going on there.
“It is important therefore that you cultivate deep relationship with the people in your communities so they can trust you with the vital information needed for securing the nation.
“We are at a point where we cannot but make a big difference.
“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,” the minister said.
Mr Shuaibu Belgore, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, said that the current situation had necessited increased vigilance by security operatives, hence, the need for improved quality of security operations in Nigeria.
Belgore tasked the newly decorated and other officers to ensure that the country overcomes the challenges of rising insecurity demonstrated by kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, arson, and herder/farmer conflicts.
Responding, Mr Haliru Ishaka, on behalf of the newly decorated officers, thanked President Buhari for approving their promotion and pledged their loyalty in the discharge of their respective responsibilities.