The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said on Wednesday the military would not engage in dialogue with bandits or other criminal elements in a bid to tackle the problem of insecurity in the country.
The army chief stated this at a media briefing to mark the commencement of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2020 at the Army Special Super Camp, Faskari, Katsina State.
He said dialogue with criminals was not a military option in dealing with insecurity, adding that he did not believe in dialogue with bandits and other criminals terrorising innocent people in the country.
Buratai, however, added that if the civil authorities decided to go for dialogue, the military would have no option than to support them to achieve peace in the country.
He said: “As far as the Nigerian army is concerned, dialogue is not an option. It is not on our table; it is absolutely political decision.
“May be when I drop the uniform, I may consider that but for now, it is not the military option.
“Some newspapers quoted me as saying that the troops should move into the bush and defeat them tactically; that is our mission and that is what we want to achieve. Anything short of that will only prolong the insecurity.
“So we are determined to deal with them in the bush or wherever they are, even in the town and cities. We will deal with them accordingly.”
Buratai also described as false the allegations that the troops were not always responding to distress calls from some communities during attacks by bandits.
According to him, the allegations were being promoted by those who had decided to politicise the security situation in the affected places.
The army chief alleged that those who often propagate false allegations always go behind to apologise to the government.
Buratai added: “It is unfortunate that some politicians are taking military operations beyond what it should be, that is, to the political domain.
“All those allegations are false. We are a professional army; we are responsive, and I have always stressed that we must be responsive to our operational needs, to the challenges of our country, and to our troops’ welfare.
“Some have even gone further to say that the Nigerien forces are coming in to intervene to deal with bandits in our territory.
“We will continue to resolve any insecurity that comes.
“We will only be seen not to have done anything when we don’t respond. But on all the insecurity problems across the country, whether in the North-East or North-West, a lot has been achieved.”
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