Socio-political Organisation, including the Northern Elders’ Forum, the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, the Coalition of Northern Groups, and some retired generals has condemned the call for the recruitment of mercenaries to combat the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
The Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum had appealed to the Federal Government to hire mercenaries to fight the insurgents following the gruesome murder of 43 rice farmers at Kwashebe village in Borno State on Saturday.
The North-East governors and the Senate however supported the governor’s appeal.
The retired generals during an interview on Wednesday cautioned against the return of mercenaries who were hired by the predecessor of President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and in assumption into the office, the president forgone the mercenaries.
The retired generals; an ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Joshua Dogonyaro (retd.); a former General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Major General Abiodun Role (retd.) and Corps Commander, Amotekun Corps in Osun State, Brigadier General Bashir Adewinbi, (retd.), maintained that Nigerians were capable of defending themselves.
Abiodun Role, in his view said, Nigeria did not need to hire mercenaries against the Boko Haram noting that the military needs the citizens support and media to help in fighting the uneven war.
He recalled that some hired mercenaries at a point realised that they were not familiar with the country and fled after they had lost some of their colleagues.
Role said, “It’s like you have a problem in your own house and you think the only people that can help you out are strangers. Why do we always say that we should bring Americans, bring Chadians any time we have such a security challenge?
“It is annoying to have such a thought always. Why did we diminish ourselves? What the media need to help do is to enlighten Nigerians to let them know that asymmetrical warfare is not easily won. When the media give their vent to the event like the one that just happened, it emboldens the insurgents and that is what they need.
“Some are saying we should call Chad. Which experience does Chadians have more than Nigerian military in this area?
“The other time Idris Derby said he neutralised 1,000 Boko Haram fighters. Did we ever see the 1, 000 bodies? He went to some villages and performed some macabre actions. He went to some villages and dislodged some insurgents and they are using that to cast aspersion on Nigeria.
“They said we should engage mercenaries. Didn’t (Sambo) Dasuki engage mercenaries in the North-East? Those guys mercenaries) saw that they were not familiar with the terrain, after few of them were neutralised, they packed their loads and fled. My strong opinion is that if we can put right our situation, nobody will do it for us.”
Brigadier General Adewinbi in his comment cautioned that involving mercenaries in the insurgency fight would fail.
He stated that if mercenaries would work in the same area where soldiers had failed, no better result would be achieved.
Adewinbi, however, suggested a reorientation of the Borno residents in order to make them more committed to the insurgency war.
He also adding that technology should be employed to monitor porous borders in the North as the terrorists may cause havoc in a deceptive manner.
The Amotekun boss then urged various regions to initiate regional security outfit that would tackle the security challenges specific to their areas as the South-West did.
He said, “First, our border is so porous in that area. They (insurgents) move freely. They move their logistics and men. They can come in a deceptive form to cause havoc and go back.
“The people of that area too are not cooperating with the soldiers. Boko Haram members are living within the people. When they come, they operate within the people. People in the area are the ones providing logistics, intelligence and supporting the insurgents. Even if you bring mercenaries from anywhere, Boko Haram will still operate, mercenaries will fail. Reorientation of people is key to make them more supportive to the army.”