We will apply our full weight against terrorists, bandits – NSA

THE federal government says it is not against having conversations with criminal elements in the country but will apply its full weight against them.

Babagana Monguno, national security adviser, said this during a State House Briefing on  Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The NSA said the criminal elements were not people looking for anything that was genuine or legitimate, but were only out to take calculated measures to inflict pain and violence on innocent people. He said owing to this, government was out to deal with them.

According to Monguno, the terrorists and bandits were not reliable because they might still go back to hurt the society.

“While government is not averse to talking with these entities, it also has to fully apply its weight. You cannot 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,” Monguno said.

He explained that the government was also focused on the associated dimensions of the banditry and terrorism, including Illegal drugs,  flow of small arms and light weapons, and Illegal mining in places like Zamfara State.

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He also noted that the highlighted dimensions were some of the scenarios fueling the violence in the North-East, and the federal government was already tackling them.

In the fight against insurgency, banditry and terrorism in Nigeria, state and federal governments have taken measures which some say are counterproductive.

Earlier in 2020, the federal government introduced the Operation Safe Corridor to rehabilitate ‘repentant’ Boko Haram terrorists back to the society.

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However, Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno State,  recently said that deradicalisation of repentant Boko Haram members was not working because most of them ended up as spies for the terrorist group.

Also, Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger State, has said that some repentant bandits deceived the government into collecting money to buy more weapons for their operations.

Meanwhile, Monguno has reiterated the government’s position on the engagement of foreign mercenaries to fight insurgency in Nigeria.

The NSA said President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive was that Nigeria was not in need of mercenaries.

He stated that the view of the president was that the country had capable personnel and resources to tackle insecurity.

“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,” Monguno said.



    During the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria engaged South African mercenaries to tackle insurgency, The ICIR investigation revealed.

    Eeben Barlow, a South African military contractor and chairman of ‘Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International’ had, during an interview with Al Jazeera, said his mercenaries were winning the war against Boko Haram before Buhari terminated their contract immediately after assuming office as president.

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    “The then-incoming President, Muhammadu Buhari was heavily supported by a foreign government, and one of his first mission as president after May 2015 was to terminate their contract,” Barlow said.

    When contacted by The ICIR, the Nigerian government refused to comment on it.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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