Until terrorists sheath their swords, the use of force would be applied on members of the Boko Haram sect, the Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt. General Azubuike Onyeabo Ihejirika said yesterday.
Gen. Ihejirika said the measure would continue while the Federal Government explores the possibility of dialogue with terrorists once they meet set conditions. The army chief spoke in Lagos at an interactive session on military-media relations in the country.
The session entitled: “Enhancing Military-Media Relations Towards Improved Security,” held at the 81 Division Auditorium, Marina, on Lagos Island. According to Gen. Ihejirika, dropping the use of force to fight insurgents or terrorists groups like Boko Haram may be counterproductive.
He said: “Curbing terrorism, like every other complex problem, requires multi-faceted approach. There is no tested solution that you could describe as solution to the menace.
“There is no country where terrorism has been curbed that force was not applied. There is none in history. We have proven cases in history where government efforts relaxed and the terrorists use the opportunity to regroup and reequipped. I talk so much about force because that my own line of business. I am to destroy the terrorists if I am able to find them. Also to curtail their movements generally.”
Commenting on the call by some sections of Nigerians to dialogue with the group, Gen. Ihejirika urged those leading the call to on their own engage the terrorists in dialogue, a move he said would be supported by the Federal Government. The General continued: “The government has made its position repeatedly clear that it is open to dialogue and discussion. “I can even add that even those calling for dialogue on their own can undertake dialogue.
Nobody is stopping anybody from dialoguing with anybody. If a leader, politician has been able to come up with a solution, government will buy it. The army chief told reporters that the government has enough evidence that the Boko Haram group are being trained, financed and supplied weapons by similar group in the Maghreb region.
The army chief said: “It has also been established that they (Boko Haram) get their funding from banks’ robberies, payment of protection fees through intimidation of individuals and through external funding. “There is also a strong link between the Boko Haram and terrorist in the Maghreb including the rebels in Mali who provide them with training, funding and weapons.”