The Federal Government on Thursday ruled out the use of mercenaries in assisting Nigeria to fight insurgency which has been a threat to the Nation’s security.
It also vowed not to engage in any blackmail or the use of criminals by proxies to harass citizens but beef up the fight against insurgency in the country.
While speaking in interview, Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, said; “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 hooked up on drugs and I don’t know why anybody wants to negotiate with these people.
The people who have been negotiating with them in the first place, don’t you think they should actually if there is that sincerity of purpose, talk with the right people in government? So, for negotiations, it is there, we would see what happens if it happens.”
He said dialogue with bandits reflects weakness and incapacity on the part of the government, and that the new service chiefs will deploy strategies to deal with terrorists and bandits.
“The President’s view and the directive is that we will not engage mercenaries. When this administration came in, it’s true, we had these mercenaries helping out in the North-East. But the directive of the Commander-in-Chief is that we do not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with this problem.
“This is basically a presidential directive. And there are so many issues when you come to the issue of mercenaries. It has to do with the issue of national pride also. I know you’d say can pride be more of a concern than our security? I do understand that.
But what we are looking at here is that we have the resources, it’s just misapplication or under-utilization that has affected our ability to deal with these people,” he said.
The statement is coming after several governors of Northeastern states, led by Professor Babagana Zulum, Borno State Governor, the People’s Democratic Party, and other stakeholders called on the FG to engage the services of mercenaries to defeat terrorists.
When asked why the government has been silent on Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s opinion on amnesty for bandits, Monguno said he met with Gumi in Kaduna and he promised to help.
“Sheikh Gumi is doing what he’s doing because he believes in what he’s doing. He’s a Nigerian and under the constitution, he can talk to anybody. He can deal with anybody.
“I met with him when I went with the service chiefs to Kaduna, and we spoke generally during the meeting and he resolved to help the government. We are waiting for him. That’s all I can say”.
Speaking about the new service chiefs, he said, “The new direction of government is to come out with full force. The government will not allow itself to be blackmailed by any group or individual who thinks he can hide under the surface and use proxies to deal a fatal blow on innocent people.
I want to assure you categorically and unequivocally that the 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, the government realizes the need for tangential, auxiliary organizations to key into both the issue of drugs coming in and smuggling of arms and light weapons.”