…OUR DILEMMA ON POLICING -AZAZI
National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Azazi, yesterday admitted that it was absolutely difficult to man every point in the country when there are security problems. The NSA spoke in Abuja after the President met with Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar 111, at a closed doors meeting to proffer solution to the Boko Haram menace, two days after the sect admitted bombing St. Theresa's Catholic Church, Madalla in Niger State on Christmas Day. No fewer than 35 people died in the twin blasts.
Speaking to newsmen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Gen Azazi, while assuring that the security operatives were working to ensure they are ahead of the situation, regretted that it was difficult to police all trouble spots.
Asked why it was difficult to check the recurring incidents along the Suleja-Zugba axis, he replied, 'It is absolutely difficult to man every point of the country when there are security problems. Like I have said before, there is the need for security awareness. There is the need for public participation so that there must be co-operation between security and the society for us to make progress'.
On possible reprisal by the Christians over the Christmas bombings, the NSA said: 'We can't have a situation where we think that one bad turn deserves another. We are Nigerians and like we always say, I don't see any major conflict between the Christian community and the Muslim community. You will find a situation where, certain individuals for whatever reasons are causing these problems. Have we thought of what their ultimate intentions are? Why will somebody go on to bomb Christians on a Christmas Day? Look at the ultimate intentions. Do they want to really raise temper elsewhere? I think the Christian leaders, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), are meeting tomorrow (today) to emphasize to the Christians that we must live together as a nation. Retaliation is not the answer because if you retaliate, at what point will it end?
'Nigeria must survive as a nation, that is the key thing,' he said.
On possible overhauling of the security system, Azazi replied: 'When you say overhaul, what do you mean? We need to improve security certainly.'
On whether there will be a shake-up, he asked: 'What changes are you talking about? Why changes in leadership? Everybody thinks that if you change leaders in security, everything will work fine. If you ask a very simple question; what kind of security system have we been managing?
'Are the structures all being so good that we can, overall, produce result? It is a gradual process, anywhere there had been this level of terrorism, it takes a long time for the security to be overhauled.
'Even whatever you do, at some point, you expect limited successes; but to ensure that over a period of time, you can actually put things in place that will work for the betterment of the society.'
On what was preventing government from holding dialogue with members of Boko Haram, he asked: 'Do you know them?'
On the allegation that one of the leaders of the sect had been shuttling between Nigeria and Niger Republic, Azazi turned to the reporter and said, 'I think I will like you to tell me more, I am talking of working together. So, if you understand that one of the key leaders has been going between Nigeria and elsewhere, come and tell us so that we know how to follow the key leader,' he said.