Dialogue With Boko Haram Not Army's Call - Petinrin
CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF (CDS), AIR CHIEF MARSHALL OLUSEYI PETINRIN
SAN FRANCISCO, September 14, (THEWILL) - The Nigerian Army will continue to engage the Boko Haram Islamist sect with militarily might despite calls for dialogue between the Federal Government and the terrorists, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin has said.
He explained that such military confrontations would continue because it is not in the place of security forces to determine whether there should be dialogue with the sect and because the Army does not even have the competence to dialogue.
Petinrin was speaking in Maiduguri where he, alongside Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar, was commissioning one of the nine boreholes built in the town by the Joint Task Force (JTF) as part of its community relations programme.
He urged the country to prepare for long-term management of its terrorism challenges, saying any talks that the menace would be wiped off any time soon is deceit.
“We must continue to manage the situation here. There is nothing like everything is over and we have to go home and relax; there is nothing like that again,” he said.
“The issue of terrorism, the issue of criminality, once people introduce it to the society, the society continues to be on the guard. It is like armed robbery; after the Civil War, armed robbery started in the country and till now, it is still with us. What is now required is that people should be aware of their environment so that no one comes to destabilise it.”
The CDS commended security agencies for the success recorded so far, and also praised the government and people of Borno for their assistance to men of the JTF, whom he noted would have faltered in their task without help.
Speaking on the continuation of armed confrontations with the Islamist sect despite calls for dialogue, Petinrin said, “The Federal Government is Federal Government; it owns everybody and everything. If it decides to dialogue, it can. But what I am saying is that as far as security forces are concerned, ours is to ensure there is peace. Nobody has told us to dialogue with anybody; and we work based on order.
“We do not even have the competence to dialogue with anyone, it is the Federal Government who has people who can talk, who can sit at the table and deliberate; we are not trained for that.”
In his talk, governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima described Boko Haram’s ambition of a wholly Islamic Nigeria as impossible, saying the country remains a multi-ethnic and multi-religious entity.