The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not engage the services of mercenaries to tackle insecurity in the country, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), has said.
Daily Correspondents recall that Northern governors, especially Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, have repeatedly called on the Federal Government to engage mercenaries in the war against insurgency.
Zulum had insisted that it is the only way to defeat terrorism.
But speaking during a media briefing at the Presidential Villa on Thursday morning, Monguno said Nigerian troops were capable of dealing with the insurgents.
“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,” said Monguno.
The NSA, however, noted that the Federal Government had been receiving intelligence from the United States, United Kingdom and France, amongst others, in its ongoing fight against insecurity.
“They’ve been supporting us with intelligence. For us what’s most important is acting on the intelligence. That’s why we’re investing in equipment and assets,” he said.
The NSA further disclosed that between March and December 2020, the Nigerian military successfully eliminated 2,403 insurgents during air and ground raids on terrorists’ enclaves in the North East.
He also disclosed that 864 kidnap victims were rescued within the same period by Nigerian troops.
He added that, “When this Administration came to office, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were going off left, right and center. Within one year we were able to contain this situation, especially working to comprehensively deal with the root causes, like the illegal importation of fertilizer.”
According to Monguno, President Buhari’s recent replacement of the country’s service chiefs had given, “a ray of hope that things will be adjusted, so that whatever we do as regards securing Nigeria will be in conformity with the aspirations of the people.”
The NSA said besides replacement of the service chiefs, the armed forces would witness “Greater investment in force multipliers: APCs, MRAPs, counter-IED equipment, air assets etc.
“Greater synergy in security architecture, between intelligence and operational arms. We’ve been meeting very regularly with the new Service Chiefs & Intel agencies.”