The Defence Headquarters has said the decision to engage mercenaries to assist the military in defeating the Boko Haram insurgency is for the Federal Government to take.
It noted that the security forces could not challenge the initiative, stressing that it was up to Nigerians and the government to contract the private army.
Following the killing of over 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents last Saturday, Governor Babagana Zulum and governors of the North-East states had called for the hiring of mercenaries to fight the insurgents.
But responding to a question from The PUNCH during the weekly briefing on the security operations across the country in Abuja on Thursday, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche said the military had no business debating the proposal.
He stated, “Request or proposal to engage mercenaries; that is at a very high level. The kind of armed forces and security agencies you have is normally determined by the people.
”It (engagement of mercenaries) is not in our powers. It is a kind of force package; it is what the government wants. It is not for the military to begin to contend.”
When asked if the military was overstretched and overwhelmed as stated by the Chairman, Nigerians Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Enenche said, “Our bosses that engaged us said we are overstretched, it is left to them.
“It is not for the military to say we are overstretched; I am not overstretched. If I say, I am overstretched, that means, I don’t want to work. And if I say, I am not overstretched, that means, I am under-utilised.”
The media coordinator said the armed forces and other security agencies have continued to deal deadly blows to insurgents and bandits in the North-East and North-West regions.
He disclosed that the troops of Army Super Camp II Gamboru-Ngala killed two insurgents during clearance operations at Garal village and Bulankesa village in Borno State.
The DHQ further revealed that two suspected bandits, Ibrahim Umar and Ibrahim Sani, affiliated to a notorious bandit identified as Turji, were arrested by the troops of Operation Accord on November 26, adding that two other suspects, Iro Ibrahim and Umaru Abdullahi, from Daba village, were also apprehended on November 27.
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