Negotiating with terrorists suggests weakness – NSA

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The Federal Government has ruled out the possibility of government negotiating with with bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements terrorising the country, saying it will suggest weakness and incapacity on the part of government.

National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said this at a State House Briefing in Aso Villa, Abuja.

The NSA said the government would not succumb to blackmail, adding that the current Service Chiefs will deploy all necessary force to deal with terrorists and bandits terrorizing some parts of the country.

“The new direction of government is to come out with full force. Government will not allow itself to be blackmailed by any group or any individual who thinks he can hide under the surface and use proxies to deal a fatal blow on innocent people.
“That I want to assure you categorically and unequivocally, government is going to apply full weight to deal with these criminals until such a time that they vacate the shores of this country.
“In dealing with this issue, government realizes the tangential, auxiliary organizations to key in both the issue of drugs coming in and smuggling of arms and light weapons.
“As a result of what I said about delivering maximum force, the weight of our security organizations,  does that obviate the need for us to use soft approach?
“We are ready to dialogue with these people but for us, it’s not a priority.
“We can’t be singing the same song everyday and these people are unreliable. They are ignoble, they are ready to undermine whatever agreement we have had. So, because of that, if the opportunity avails itself, of course, we will talk with responsible people from the side of those people.
“I don’t even know how to categorize them because it’s not as if they are looking for something you can point a finger at, it’s not some kind of nationalistic situation, something you can actually identify and relate to.
“These are just a murderous group of individuals who are keyed up on drugs and I don’t know what any body wants to negotiate with these people.
“And the people who have been negotiating with them in the first place, don’t you think they should actually, if there is that sincerity of purpose, talk with the right people in government? So, for negotiations, it is there, we would see what happens if it happens,” Monguno said.
The NSA also insisted that government would not engage mercenaries in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents as he noted that the country has enough resources to deal with the issue but for their misapplication and under utilization.
“The President’s view and directive is that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems. We have the personnel and resources, and the President has given a new lease of life to the Armed Forces,” he said.
Monguno affirmed that is difficult quantify achievements in the security sector as he noted that most successes are operational in nature and “can only be satisfactorily narrated to the people in the complete absence of panic, etc.”
In addition, he said the current administration has done a lot from 2015 till date in taking out sea pirates, eliminating 2,403 insurgents and freeing 864 kidnapped persons.
Monguno stressed the need for cooperation among the different branches of government to fashion and apply new laws to deal with insecurity in the country as he observed that it makes to sense to use 1958 laws to punish today’s offenses.
He lamented that the major issues impeding the security efforts in the country are personnel shortages and lack of equipment.
The NSA expressed delight that President Muhammadu Buhari has now endorsed the need to quickly fill the void, affirming that the Service Chiefs know they are under equipped.
He also stressed that in security,  “we need overwhelming intelligence to overcome asymmetric war,” saying it is the locals that can provide information to apprehend criminals among them.
The NSA harped on the need to deploy technology to fight insecurity, saying that the recent unveiling of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 is in that direction.



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