39 Days To Go: Military Dismisses Threats Of Bandit Attacks On May 29

39 Days To Go: Military Dismisses Threats Of Bandit Attacks On May 29

The Military High Command yesterday dismissed the alarm raised by Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, that bandits could take advantage of the transition period on May 29 to launch bloody attacks in parts of the country.

It also denied allegations of its troops supervising killings in Benue and other communities.

El-Rufai had Wednesday, through his Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, given a stern warning against the activities of the terrorists during the period while presenting a security report in Kaduna, the state capital.

The governor specifically called for sustained simultaneous ground and air operations across the seven frontline states in the North-West zone and Niger State which had contiguous forest ranges and were most heavily impacted by the insecurity.

According to him, the operation was to prevent a dangerous lull during the transition period at the federal level which the criminal outlaws could exploit.

But reacting to El-Rufai’s alarm while answering questions from journalists shortly after the bi-weekly press briefing at Defence Headquarters, Abuja, the director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, described the alarm as “unnecessary”.

Danmadami, who recalled security advisories issued by the United States and United Kingdom, wondered why critical stakeholders had continued to make the Nigerian populace more apprehensive, insisting that the military was always ready to neutralise any threat.

“Just like the general elections have come and gone, winners have been announced, people are just being apprehensive by insinuating the security situations that are not there.

“You will recall that there were US advisory warnings but up until now, there is nothing to show that, and we are still waiting for the consequences. People have been predicting that this country would finish (sic) but nothing has happened.”

According to him, Members of the Armed Forces and the intelligence community are working round the clock to ensure that there is peace and tranquility in the country.

Speaking on the allegations of Benue youths that soldiers deployed in the state look the other way while herders maim and kill the indigenes, he said, “Anybody telling you that story is telling lies. The army will not see people coming to attack a location and sit back. In most of our briefings we tell you, most times we get information and we respond; most times before we get to that location unfortunately the people have committed their mayhem and then will disappear.

“Sometimes we follow them up in pursuit operations and have an encounter with them and in the process some of them are eliminated while some people are arrested.

“You may find out that it is possible that those people came in uniforms; people are carrying AK-47 all over the place. Anybody can get the uniform and wear it and disguise as a military personnel but that does not make them military personnel. Our soldiers are properly trained and we carry out our job in a professional manner. Even if it’s one soldier there, the soldier will do what is needful even if it means giving his life; so that story is totally false.

He insisted that soldiers cannot be at a place of security breach and refuse to respond, adding that it is their primary responsibility to protect the life and property of every citizen of the country.

“In fact, the mere fact that soldiers were even there is enough deterrent for them ­(terrorists) to leave that place. I can assure you of that one, and if it is not enough deterrent, when they come, they will be decisively dealt with accordingly. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

The military spokesman disclosed that there were a lot of follow-up operations on a daily basis after the just-concluded general elections and people moving ammunition from one point to another to go and commit havoc are being arrested.

“We are working round the clock, both the intelligence community and the Nigeria’s Armed Forces of Nigeria are working round the clock to make sure we nip these things in the bud, and if it happens, we respond to it appropriately.

“So, there should be no fear; people should not be afraid that when they hand over there is going to be calamity all over the place. I can assure you that we are ready to address whatever calamity that wants to come up. We are ready for that.

“People should just go about their normal duties and forget about all this apprehension people are creating unnecessarily. There is no cause for alarm; everything is under control,” he added.

He also called on intelligence agencies to quickly expose those funding militant groups and, by extension, terrorism.

The DDMO added, “Funding of militant groups, there are a lot of schools of thought as per who is funding terrorism in Nigeria. I’ll allow the intelligence community to do that; that is not my job to do.”

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