President Muhammadu Buhari has described Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east as “mere scavengers desperate for food”.
Speaking at a virtual meeting in the presidential villa on Tuesday. Buhari said the service chiefs had done their best but they need to develop in terms of intelligence gathering.
The meeting was attended by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, heads of defence, security, intelligence agencies, and members of the security committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff, were in attendance. The president expressed concern over insurgents’ access to small weapons despite border closure.
“These terrorists are in the localities. How is it that they are not short of small arms? We have said enough on the need for them to rejig their operations,” Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, quoted him to have said.
“I am glad that there is better synergy and cooperation which are very important. I have directed the Service Chiefs to meet among themselves in-between the National Security Council meetings.
“The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence. Our intelligence-gathering must be improved.”
Discarding the assumption that insurgents in the north-east possess better weapons than the military, the president reportedly said what is left of them are: “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”