President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to a free, fair and transparent electoral process in 2023.
This is as he again charged heads of military and other security agencies to rise up to their responsibilities, go after terrorists troubling the nation and eliminate them.
He stated this, yesterday, after observing the Eid prayers at the Mambila Barracks Parade Ground, Abuja in commemoration of this year’s Sallah celebration.
Asked who he would hand over to in 2023, Buhari replied: “The person that Nigerians elect.”
The president said his administration would continue to work to make the country safe for Nigerians. He said it was important to make the country safe, especially with the onset of the rainy season so that farmers are assured of their safety as they return to their farms to boost food security in the country.
“Heads of the services; Army, Navy, Air Force, the Inspector-General of Police and so on, are very much aware of the situation. It’s their duties to know where the terrorists are and eliminate them.”
Meanwhile, Buhari has confirmed that terrorists were behind the Abuja-Kaduna train attacks, and 62 in captivity were being used as human shields by the criminals.
Buhari, said this when he received some FCT residents at State House on Sallah homage Monday, assuring that the government would explore every opportunity to secure the captives, alive and unhurt.
He particularly assured families that efforts were ongoing to ensure safe return of all those being held by the terrorists, directing security agencies and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to provide more regular and detailed information to the families of the victims.
“As we celebrate this occasion with joy amidst friends and family members, we are fully conscious of the fact that many families in our country are in a state of fear and anxiety on account of the many captives held by terrorists against their will, including those taken away after the tragic bombing of the Abuja – Kaduna train.
“I have directed security agencies to ensure quick and safe recovery of all victims of kidnapping. I urge the railway management to immediately set up a situation room for the coordination of the rescue mission and for a minute by minute engagement with the families of the captives.
“This should ease their pain and anxiety as we push the military to finding a safe return to their families. My aim is to see all those in captivity safely rescued.”
“Let me assure Nigerians that the bandits are just pushing their luck, but this is only for a while before they are finally crushed. They are using civilians as human shields, thereby making it difficult to confront them directly,” he said.
According to the President, bandits and terrorists, unlike professional soldiers, don’t respect the rules of engagement and could resort to harming hostages when attacked.
“They don’t care about killing their hostages if they come under attack. It’s a delicate situation that requires wisdom, caution and also patience. Any rescue operation that results in the death of any hostage cannot be deemed a success.
“The government doesn’t want this kind of tragic outcome. It’s a complex situation that demands proper handling. The primary objective of any rescue operation is to free the hostages safely, unharmed and alive.”