The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said that the military will not engage in dialogue with bandits or any criminal to bring an end to insecurity.
Buratai stated this at a news conference to mark the commencement of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2020 on Wednesday at the Army Special Super Camp, Faskari, Katsina State.
He said that dialogue with criminals was not a military option in dealing with insecurity, adding that he did not believe in dialogue with bandits.
“Maybe when I drop the uniform, I may consider that but for now, it is not the military option,” he said.
Buratai, however, explained that if the civil authorities decided to go for dialogue, the military would have no option than to support them to achieve peace.
As far as the Nigerian army is concerned, dialogue is not an option; it is not on our table; it is absolutely political decision.
“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,” he said.
Buratai also described as false the allegations that the troops were not always responding to distress calls from some communities during attacks by bandits.
He said that the allegations were being promoted by those who had decided to politicise the security situation in the affected places.
According to him, those who often propagate false allegations always go behind to apologise to the authorities.
While accusing politicians of always trying to drag the military into the political domain, the COAS, however, said that army personnel would continue to remain professional in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
“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 insecurities across the country, whether in the North-East or North-West, a lot has been achieved,” he said.
Buratai, who said that security challenges were dynamic in nature, called on Nigerians to support the military in tackling the menace.
He stated that NADCEL was an annual event being organised by the Nigerian army celebrate its fallen heroes and review all its activities from inception so as to know how far it had gone.
According to him, NADCEL 2020 is combined with an operation that is aimed at showcasing the army’s capability and capacity to address the security challenges, not only in the North but also, across the country.