The Defence Headquarters says the decision to engage mercenaries to assist the military in defeating the Boko Haram insurgency is squarely for the Federal Government to take.
It noted that the security forces cannot challenge the initiative, stressing that it was up to Nigerians and the government to contract the private army.
Following the killing of over 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents last Saturday, Governor Babagana Zulum had demanded the engagement of foreign mercenaries to tackle the militants.
Endorsing Zulum’s demand, the governors of North-East states said the thought of hiring mercenaries to fight Boko Haram should be taken seriously.
But responding to a question from The PUNCH during the weekly briefing on the security operations across the country in Abuja on Thursday, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche said the military had no business debating the proposal, adding that it was diligently prosecuting the war, and focused on victory.
He stated, “Request or proposal to engage mercenaries, that is at a very high level. The kind of armed forces and security agencies you have now is normally determined by the people.
”It (engagement of mercenaries) is not in our powers. It is a kind of force package; it is what the government wants. It is not for the military to begin to contend.”
“No armed forces anywhere will tell the people, ‘this is how we want to operate.’ The legislators, National Security Council, will decide on it,” he added.
When asked if the military was overstretched and overwhelmed as stated by the Chairman, Nigerians Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday, Enenche said it is for the authorities to decide if this was true.
“It is not for the military to say, we are overstretched; I am not overstretched. If I say, I am overstretched, that means, I don’t want to work. And if I say, I am not overstretched, that means, I am under-utilised”, the general noted.
The media Coordinator said the armed forces and other security agencies have continued to deal deadly blows to insurgents and bandits in the North-East and North-West regions.