The Nigerian Army on Monday threatened to use minimum force in dealing with civilians agitating for the return of the defunct Biafra Republic.
The General Officer Commanding of the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army, Hassan Umaru, gave the warning on Monday at a press conference in Maxwell Kobe Cantonment, Rukuba, Plateau State.
“It is the duty of an officer or soldier to ensure the enforcement of law and order in conjunction with other security agencies, troops are duty bound to intervene in any situation to avoid a breakdown in peace and stability of an area where they are deployed,” Mr. Umaru said.
“It is inexcusable for troops to stand aside and watch security situation deteriorate and for avoidance of doubt, the rule of engagement for internal security operations include principle of minimum force and proportionality must be applied at all times.”
The general warned officers and soldiers not to take the sides of rebellion, saying they should adhere to their rules of engagement in the fight against insurgents and rebels.
“Officers and soldiers have been warned not to take sides in any conflict as anyone found aiding and abetting any act of arson, vandalism or unprofessional conduct would be severely dealt with according to extant laws.
“The Nigerian Army would like to send an unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more specifically to all those threatening and agitating for the dismemberment of the country, committing treasonable felony and arson as well as wanton destruction of lives and property.
“Once deployed, we shall apply the ROE [Rules of Engagement] to the latter. It is however hoped that such circumstances would not arise that we should be deployed on such operations because, within the ambit of the law, we shall apply the ROE to the fullest,” he said.
He harped on the rule of engagement of internal security operations, including use of minimum force to stop violence, saying it was the duty of the military intervene whenever there is breakdown of law and order.
He also warned all Nigerians not to support disintegration of Nigeria as a country or join any rebel group.
“The Nigerian Army would like to send an unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more specifically to all those threatening and agitating for the dismemberment of the country, committing treasonable felony and arson, as well as wanton destruction of lives and property that once deployed, we shall apply the role of the army to the latter,” he warned.
He also reassured Nigerians of ending the insurgency in the North-East region this December in accordance with the deadline given by the federal government to the Nigerian Army.