A former military officer, Maj. Gen. David Jemibewon (retd.), has condemned the attacks on military bases in the country, noting that the attacks had reached a new dimension.
Jemibewon urged the Nigerian elite to “talk to themselves” before the matter got out of hand.
The retired Army officer, who served as a military governor of the defunct Western Region, told Sunday PUNCH, “I think we should address ourselves because this matter is getting out of hand. The military has to assure Nigerians that they are prepared to handle it (terrorism) and put a stop to it as quickly as possible before civilians get unnecessarily worried.
“(The attack on these military bases) is a new dimension and they must act quickly and put a stop to it. Whether or not the military is overstretched should not be the cause of all these attacks on their bases. The military is an establishment and if anything is going wrong within the establishment, I am sure it will not be happening for the first time. Do we have the means of putting it under control? I think there will be other reasons for these attacks.”
He also stated that “certain people, probably, have some grounds to get unhappy (because of the situation in the country) but are going about it through wrong methods to call the attention of the authorities to it”.
Asked whether foreign mercenaries should be involved in the fight against these rampaging terrorists, Jemibewon said, “I personally don’t support the idea of emphasising so strongly that we should go and employ mercenaries. They are illegal and have put upon themselves military operations.
“They are illegal. Why should a legitimate government go out for illegality on a world scene? You cannot go and bring people whose mission or nature of the operation is mercenary. It is against direct confrontation with constituted authority.
“I wouldn’t join those who play with a group of mercenaries in a country with a large and competent population. If we go out to employ unprofessional ways of doing things, we are not helping world peace. Instead, we should go into more recruitment and face the situation.”
However, a former director of the Department of State Services, Mr Mike Ejiofor, said, with the repeated attacks on the military bases, the Nigerians might have lost confidence in the government.
Ejiofor urged the government to involve the help of foreign aid and mercenaries to assist the country to conquer these terrorists.
He added, “It is not that the military is overwhelmed but we need foreign partners in the form of mercenaries to assist us with equipment that can help us locate these people and take them out without collateral damage just as the United States did when their citizen was abducted by these terrorists from Niger and brought to Nigeria. We have to collaborate and get foreign assistance, donors, and partners. They were used before the elections in 2015, and they achieved great results. Why can’t they be put to use now?”