The Nigerian Army asks for more time to deal with terrorism.
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah, on Monday said the army was a conventional and regular army one and was not prepared to tackle terrorism, which is an unconventional war.
Mr. Minimah said this in Abuja at the opening of the three-day Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Quarterly Conference.
“I know the expectation of the Nigerian citizens is that this thing should be over by yesterday,” he said. “But the reality is that it would not have been over by yesterday because of the structure and dynamics of fighting this type of terrorism.”
According to Mr. Minimah the military has to exercise caution in its actions because the terrorists are Nigerians.
“We are fighting Nigerian citizens, we are not fighting foreigners; so caution must be exercised and we will certainly surmount it. We are also now fighting terrorism. The terrorist is someone you don’t know.
“It may be someone who sold food or fruit to you in the morning and by the afternoon he is the terrorist, by evening he is a terrorist
“Now we are having all that in an inter play, in the battle front in the North-East, we have to be cautious to separate the terrorists from the law abiding citizens. And we also have human rights to protect. Because you just don’t go out killing people that they are terrorists.
“Some are innocent Nigerians, we are bound by all the international treaties of the human rights, therefore, we need time,” he said.
Mr. Minimah, however, appealed for the support of all segments of the society including the media, stressing that the army needs time and patience for the terrorists to be defeated.
He said the army has enough equipment to fight the war as the Federal Government was also introducing fresh and newer equipment to the military.
He also called for the need to address the rising acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conduct by troops.
He cited the recent near mutinous act in Maiduguri and destruction of public property in Lagos.
Why explaining the incident in Lagos, he said that a soldier was killed by a BRT vehicle and the late soldier and the BRT were removed, but hoodlums, vandals and hooligans took over and burnt government property.
He said that it was not the army that burnt government or public property “As a professional army, highly disciplined and hierarchical organisation the conduct of our troops must be above board at all times
“I charge all commanders to put measures in place to check acts of indiscipline and misconduct of personnel under their command. The image of the army must always be protected.
“Let me reminded us of our obligation to strictly abide by our constitutional roles to defend our country and people,” said the army chief.
Earlier, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Jack Nwagbo, said that the army has embarked on series of strategies and efforts to lay a solid strategy towards addressing the various security challenges facing the country.
Mr. Nwagbo said that the focus of the conference was to appraise the performance and challenges of the army in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations with a view to surmounting them.