The military on Friday assured Nigerians that its personnel were not contemplating sacking the government. It equally warned politicians to desist from dragging its officers and men into issues that had to do with politics.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said these at a virtual media chat tagged, ‘Open Ears Dialogue’.
Irabor said the Nigerian armed forces would continue to educate its personnel that coups do “more harm than good. The Armed Forces of Nigeria have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that has to do with coup. We have learned our lessons over the years and we have come to our conclusion that coups will do us more harm than good. “And so, this is what the leadership of the armed forces is passing down the chain, and educating everyone under our command that there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to contemplate that,” he said.
The defence chief further said the military should be separated from any political influences. He added, “And in the same vein, the leadership of the armed forces is also telling politicians to leave us alone; do not mix us up with issues that have to do with politics and do not use political inclinations and persuasions to want to lure anybody from the armed forces into the idea of having to undertake coups and all. “We will not. That’s the reason why, perhaps, the discussions you may have been having in the media. We have been insulated from such discussions because they already know our viewpoint in this regard.” While saying that the military would not hire mercenaries to fight terrorists as being suggested in some quarters, he assured that the Boko Haram insurgency would end soon.
In his contribution, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, revealed that all the equipment of Super Tucano had yet to be fully delivered, but said the accompany equipment would arrive Nigeria next year. Recall that the Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, had asked the military and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to hire mercenaries to wipe out Boko Haram.
Speaking when a Federal Government delegation visited Borno recently over the killing of at least 45 farmers, the governor listed the hiring of mercenaries among his recommendations to the President over the frequent attacks in the state. Among those in the Federal Government delegation were the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.).
Zulum had said, “One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian forces. Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the shores of the Lake Chad. “Our third recommendation is for him to engage the services of the mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.”
(Courtesy Saturday PUNCH: Text, excludes headline)