Defence Minister, Mr Magashi said opinion leaders, politicians and religious leaders have been compromised by Boko Haram terrorists and bandits, thereby jeopardising security intelligence gathering.
The federal government has blamed the prolonged activities of insurgents and bandits in northern Nigeria on political elites and religious leaders, saying that all “security stakeholders” in the region have been compromised by insurgents and bandits.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in June, reported that Boko Haram terrorists have killed about 350,000 people in the North-East, of whom 90 per cent were children.
Similarly, bandits have continued to kill and abduct schoolchildren enmasse in coordinated attacks across Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Kebbi State for ransom.
A fighter jet of the Nigerian Air Force was also downed by bandits in Zamfara State a few weeks ago.
At a security security summit organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Thursday, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, lamented lingering insecurity, saying “all security stakeholders” have been compromised.
Mr Magashi, who was represented by his Special Adviser Ahmed Jibrin, said the absence of political and traditional elites from their consistencies has allowed insecurity fester in the region. He also blamed religious leaders for not antagonising extremist views.
“The political and traditional elite at the local level are at most times not present in their constituencies and therefore create the vacuum that insurgents, terrorists and bandits fill in the administration of local authorities,” said Mr Magashi.
“What about the failure of our religious and opinion leaders who do not provide counter narratives to the misguided religious zealots, as well as sustainable engagement of the local population by regional and community leaders?”
Mr Magashi further asserted that intelligence gathering in the troubled zones has been weakened by the influence of terrorists and bandits on all security stakeholders in the region.
“What appears to be the most apparent is the lack of efficient intelligence system or lack of will to utilise the provided intelligence in carrying out security operations by the military and paramilitary agencies, as all security stakeholders appear to be compromised by the insurgents in the North-East as well as bandits/kidnappers in the North-West and North-Central Central,” Mr Magashi said.
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