The National Security Council at its meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday declared as illegal the National Taskforce on Prohibition of Illegal, Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NATFORCE).
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who briefed newsmen along with his Police Affairs counterpart, Mohammed Dingyadi, after the meeting, therefore advised the NATFORCE leadership to disband itself with immediate effect or risk forceful action against its operations by security agencies.
The Senate had in July passed into law the Bill establishing the Commission, while the House of Representatives is expected to pass its version upon resumption in September 2022.
Fielding questions on the outcome of the Council meeting, Aregbesola said members noted with satisfaction the performance of the security agencies and the gains thus far recorded lately by the operatives, a development which has brought relative peace in the country.
He said the Council also particularly singled out and commended the Police for excellent conduct in States, Ekiti, Osun and Anambra, where elections were recently conducted.
Aregbesola said the council also expressed concern over the fate of the remaining victims of kidnapping in the country, particularly those abducted in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, noting that no effort will be spared to rescue them alive.
He assured that the assailants would not go scot-free as they will be made to face the full wrath of the law in due course.
His words, “The Council has just concluded today’s meeting. It received briefings from all security chiefs and the Council is very satisfied with the performances of all our security chiefs; the military, the police and other security agencies. We are happy with their performance and the gains recorded so far.
“We are moving to the phase of consolidation of all those gains, such that by December, as ordered by the Chairman of the Council, the President, which he has said to all Nigerians before now, that we’ll put, essentially, most of the challenges of banditry particularly, insurgency, kidnapping for ransom, criminalities of that nature, far behind us.
“We are equally pleased with the performance of the Nigeria Police on the elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun, which elections have demonstrated our commitment to democracy and expression of the will of the people at the polls.
“Equally of concern is the presence of some illegal outfits that impersonate the legitimate security agencies. Of particular concern is a body called National Task Force on Illegal Importation of Goods, Small Arms and what have you, but the short name for it is NATFORCE.
“The Council declares that body an illegal organization, it should just simply disband itself, because the Council has ordered all security agencies to enforce the disbandment of that body and other such bodies that operate illegally without any force of law.”
Minister of Police Affairs, also said the arrest and detention of the main negotiator with terrorists holding Kaduna train kidnap victims, Tukur Mamu, does not mean contact will be lost with the abductors.
He explained that there are also other persons who are acting as go-between in the matter, along with other stakeholders.