The Federal Government has rejected the call for the importation of foreign mercenaries to fight bandit terrorists.
Recall that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State had said that the state governors were ready to bring in foreign mercenaries to fight bandit terrorists if the federal government refuses to do the needful.
El-rufai’s statement follows the recent attacks and killings in Kaduna State including the attack on the International Airport as well as the terror attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.
Speaking during a radio programme on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government cannot just import mercenaries to fight bandits.
While expressing solidarity with the governor, the minister said El-rufai spoke out of a deep concern about the activities of the terrorists in his state.
Mohammed stated that the foreign mercenaries cannot be compared with the Nigerian security forces in the fight against the bandits, adding that the terrain where bandits operate contributes to making security operations difficult.
The minister, however, said that the troops cannot bomb the bandits or else the innocents living around them will be killed during the operation
He said: “Governor el-Rufai spoke out of a deep concern about the situation. He might have spoken out because of the circumstances in which the bandits are emboldened to operate.
“If we employ mercenaries to fight the bandits, we should have it at the back of our minds that they are only mercenaries and not our security personnel who will return to wherever after their task is done.
“The mercenaries cannot be compared with our security forces; the fight against the bandits is a difficult one because of the terrain.
“We cannot just go with full force to bomb them or else the innocents living around them will be killed and we don’t want that to happen.”
Speaking further, Mohammed said the current administration has invested in tackling insecurity, stressing that the welfare of the police has also received attention.
The minister, however, called on the citizens to support the government’s efforts in order for the fight against bandits to be more impactful.
“We are also pleading with Nigerians to join in this fight because they have a lot of roles to play in tackling this insecurity. This is because these criminals called bandits are living among us; they interact with the people as well.
“Who are the ones supplying them with food? More so, they also have landlords. People should expose these criminals and then, the various efforts of the government will be effectively complemented and we will see the results.
“We have been trying our best in the fight against the bandits by equipping our security apparatus. The government has purchased aircraft so that they can fight alongside the soldiers. We have not rested on our oars.
“The welfare of the police is also given adequate attention and very recently, this administration recruited 25,000 constables and deployed them to their home states. This will go a long way in community policing.
“It will be easier for the newly-recruited constables to work effectively. There are lots of work in progress in the security infrastructure and personnel,” he said.