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File photo: Nigerian soldiers
In furtherance of the conversation on whether or not the Federal Government should engage mercenaries to defeat the terrorists behind insecurity, a security management and intelligence specialist, Dr Kabiru Adamu, has said what the country needs is a tactical team and not private military contractors.
Sunday PUNCH reported a week ago that apart from several Nigerians that have been killed and kidnapped by the terrorists, they also attacked no fewer than 16 military bases in the last 18 months and killed about 750 soldiers between the fourth quarter of 2020 and July 2022.
The House of Representatives Committee on Defence had urged the Federal Government to engage mercenaries to tackle the growing insecurity, saying the Armed Forces were overstretched as they were also engaged in internal security operations in about 34 states.
The chairman of the committee, Babajimi Benson, had said in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, “Everybody knows we have done it before. Every country, even the United States, uses them at one point or the other. I am the Chairman of (House Committee on) Defence and I know what I am talking about.”
But Adamu, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH recently, said, “I don’t think we need private contractors for the simple reason that we have not got our acts together. When you are bringing in private contractors, how are you going to monitor and manage their performances when you have not corrected your own part?
“What do you want them to do? Are you just bringing them in because you feel they are required or what role are they going to play? I think we need a tactical unit that has the precision and capability to work anytime we want them to.
“For example, if there was abduction, a tactical unit can immediately go into the forest and take out the leadership of the group that carried out the abduction. That kind of precise assignment that would have a clear-cut achievement, I think we can use a private contractor for purposes like that. But to bring them in because we need private contractors, I am not in support of that.”
Also, a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army, David Jemibewon, said he was against hiring mercenaries, noting that the military could handle the situation but with the support of the government.
He added, “I don’t support the idea that we should go and employ mercenaries. They are illegal and have put upon themselves military operations. Why should a legitimate government go for illegality? If we employ unprofessional ways of doing things, we are not helping world peace.
“Instead, we should do more recruitment within and face the situation. I have a feeling that this issue of terrorism is a phase, and sooner or later, it will be a thing of the past.
“If the authorities, the government, give the order to the military as to what they should do, the military will carry it out. They cannot just go into operation except it is authorised by the government. If the authorities do not say, ‘shoot at all those seen to be terrorists’ the military cannot just, on its own, do that.
However, a former director of the Department of State Services, Mr Mike Ejiofor, believes that government should consider engaging mercenaries.
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