Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Wednesday said the military will not engage in dialogue with bandits or any criminal.
He said dialogue with criminals was not the military’s style.
Buratai spoke at a briefing on the Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2020 at the Army Special Super Camp, Faskari, Katsina State.
He said: “Maybe when I drop the uniform, I may consider that, but for now, it is not the military option,” he said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Buratai, however, explained that if the civil authorities opt for dialogue, the military would support them.
“As far as the Nigerian Army is concerned, a dialogue is not an option; it is not on our table; it is an absolutely political decision.
“Some newspapers quoted me as saying that the troops should move into the bush and defeat them tactically; that is our mission and that is what we want to achieve. Anything short of that will only prolong the insecurity.
“So we are determined to deal with them in the bush or wherever they are, even in the town and cities. We will deal with them accordingly,” he said.
Buratai also described as false the allegations that troops were not always responding to distress calls from some communities during attacks by bandits.
According to him, those who often propagate false allegations always go behind to apologise to the authorities.
“All those allegations are false. We are a professional army; we are responsive, and I have always stressed that we must be responsive to our operational needs, to the challenges of our country and to our troops’ welfare, he said.
The Army chief, who said that security challenges were dynamic in nature, called on Nigerians to support the military.
Also on Wednesday, Katsina State government called for the support of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) in tackling banditry and coronavirus.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari said he invited the CAN leadership to get their input.
“As important stakeholders in the state, you cannot afford to remain aloof. Rather, you are expected to make viable contributions and suggestions that can help free the state from the grip of banditry attacks and Coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Secretary to the State Government, Dr Mustapha Inuwa, who also briefed the CAN executives, asked them to help the security agencies with credible information and to help expose informants.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Mustapha Kabir, urged the CAN leaders to educate their members on safety precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
He said Katsina Local Government has 343 patients; and that 86 were infected in Daura.
He said 23 deaths have been recorded out of the 557 cases in the state.
“Six persons died while receiving treatment and 17 were discovered to have died through complications of COVID-19.
“Of the 103 patients that were tested from the police detention cells, 87 tested positive for COVID-19,” Kabir said.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Christians Affairs, Reverend Ishaya Jumrau, expressed gratitude to Governor Masari for involving indigenous Christians in governance.
Reverends Yunana Sulaiman, Audu Bakwai, Yakubu Danlami Doka, Mr Peter Musa Danmallam, Mr Garba Salisu Faskari, Mr Aminu Samuel Dandume, were at the meeting.