President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies any suspicious persons.
Buhari also noted that the coming year provides an opportunity for Nigerians to “build on those aspects of our national life that unite us.”
The President, who made the call in his New Year message to Nigerians, said the call had become imperative following intensified efforts by the armed forces in the pursuit of fleeing terrorists from the captured Sambisa Forest.
He maintained that misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.
President Buhari, who congratulated the heroic and gallant efforts of the military and other security agencies on their remarkable successes to rid the nation of terrorism, urged all citizens to support the security agencies in the fight against terrorism.
“The support of all Nigerians to security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.
“Seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/Damasak road in Northern Borno on Dec. 25, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country is imminent.’’
He stated that the Federal Government would spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency.
The President urged state governments, privileged Nigerians, donour agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal.
According to him, government is aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs, saying that measures are being taken to correct the mistakes and punish the culprits.
“In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.’’
The President assured that the lingering security issues in several states would be frontally addressed.
“These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness.
“Some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, while the government is painstakingly trying to find solutions to our challenges.
“I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch.
“Nigeria is a bunch and is more than equal to troublemakers.
“I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.
“The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us.
“We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.’’