President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday owed never to negotiate with bandits ravaging and killing people in parts of the country.
He had been under pressure from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and a controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gini, as they urged him to hold a dialogue with the terrorists.
However, speaking on behalf of Buhari, his National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno, said nonsuch consideration was on the cards.
Monguno vowed that Buhari would not be blackmailed by any group of people into negotiating with those who threaten the nation’s peace.
The NSA who spoke on Thursday at a State House briefing in Aso Villa, Abuja, said the present administration is not interested in negotiation with bandits, terrorists, and other criminal elements terrorizing the country.
He argued that dialoguing with insurgents paints the government as weak and incapable.
“The government is tackling the problem of insecurity, we’ve said this many times that there are two phases in solving this problem –the soft approach: talking, negotiating, and so on and so forth.
“While the government is not averse to talking to these entities, these human beings, I have to be very honest, the government has to apply its weight, that force that is required because you can’t even talk with people who are unreliable people, who will turn out to do a different thing and people who will continue to hurt society.
“So, basically, what the government wants to rely upon is to deal with this issue by using all the assets – military assets, intelligence assets to eliminate these people,” the NSA said.
He added that “If along the line, some of them are ready to come out and talk and negotiate, when the time comes, we will do that but for now, we can’t keep on dwelling on ‘Let’s dialogue’.
“Psychologically, it is not even good for us, it paints the picture of weakness, it paints the picture of incapacity and I, just like the governor of Kaduna State said, do not see any reason why we cannot, with what we have, deal with these elements.
“These are not people who are looking for anything that is genuine (or) legitimate; these are people who are just out to perform atrocities, to take calculated measures to inflict pain, violence on people.
“At the slightest opportunity, they go haywire. And so, it is important for us to realize that we are dealing with people who are not looking for anything, people who without provocation will give birth to their homicidal instincts. We must deal with them the way they have to be dealt with.”
Monguno said further that Nigeria is faced with a new type of (asymmetrical) war, adding that issues of a gross deficiency in equipment and lack of personnel have played a part in the way things are at the moment.