Negotiating with bandits suggests weakness, says FG

March 11, 2021
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The Federal Government on Thursday declared that it will not engage the deployment of mercenaries to prosecute the ongoing fight against insurgents, and other forms of insecurity especially bedeviling the northern flank of the country.

The FG said it will rather deploy all necessary force to eliminate the insurgents and bandits, National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-Gen Babagana Monguno declared.

The NSA said negotiating with the criminals would suggest weakness and incapacity on the part of the government.

Gen Monguno spoke at the third edition of the weekly Presidential Media Briefing with security forming the crux of discussions at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The NSA, while fielding a question following the renewed calls by North-east governors on the federal government to engage foreign mercenaries in routing Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest and other enclaves, said “the President’s view and directive is that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems. We have the personnel and resources, and the President has given a new lease of life to the Armed Forces.”

He noted that the country has enough resources at its disposal to deal with the issue but for their misapplication and underutilization.

In ruling out arrangements to negotiate with insurgents and bandits, Monguno also insisted that the move will suggest weakness and incapacity on the part of the government.

The NSA however, added that the government will deploy all necessary force to rout them from their hideouts.

Continuing, he insisted that government would not succumb to any form of blackmail and the use of criminals by proxies to harass innocent citizens.

“While the government is not averse to talking with these entities, it also has to fully apply its weight. You can’t (negotiate) with people who are unreliable and who will continue to hurt society. We will apply the full weight of the government to deal with these criminals.

“These are not people looking for anything that is genuine or legitimate, they’re just out to take calculated measures to inflict pain and violence on innocent people. We must deal with them the way they need to be dealt with. We will fully assert the government’s will.

“We are also focusing on the associated dimensions of the banditry and terrorism: Illegal Drugs, the flow of small arms & light weapons, and Illegal mining in places like Zamfara. These are some of the scenarios fueling the violence, and we are already tackling them decisively.”

Continuing, the NSA also disclosed that the new direction of government is to come out with full force.

“Government will not allow itself to be blackmailed by any group or any individual who thinks he can hide under the surface and use proxies to deal a fatal blow on innocent people. That I want to assure you categorically and unequivocally, government is going to apply full weight to deal with these criminals until such a time that they vacate the shores of this country.

“In dealing with this issue, government realizes the tangential, auxiliary organizations to key in both the issue of drugs coming in and smuggling of arms and light weapons.
As a result of what I said about delivering maximum force, the weight of our security organizations, does not obviate the need for us to use soft approach?

“We are ready to dialogue with these people but for us, it’s not a priority.

“We can’t be singing the same song everyday and these people are unreliable. They are ignoble, they are ready to undermine whatever agreement we have had, so, because of that, if the opportunity avails itself, of course, we will talk with responsible people from the side of those people.

“I don’t even know how to categorize them because it’s not as if they are looking for something you can point a finger at, it’s not some kind of nationalistic situation, something you can actually identify and relate to.

“These are just a murderous group of individuals who are keyed up on drugs and I don’t know what any body wants to negotiate with these people.”

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