The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai on Saturday, August 1, implored Nigerians to divorce politics from security matters when commenting.
Buratai made this statement, in reaction to calls for the removal of Service Chiefs.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari who appointed the military chiefs knows exactly when to change them.
The COAS who spoke during a recent media chat with a select team of media executives to mark the 2020 Nigerian Army Day celebration in Faskari local government area of Katsina State.
Buratai further acknowledged that the service chiefs had been fighting myriads of security threats facing the country.
On the clamour for the removal of Service Chiefs, Buratai said, “Because I am an actor in it, I think it will not be appropriate for me to respond to that. But the most important thing is that we have a commander-in-chief.
“I have been appointed; we are fighting several battles on different fronts. You can say that in a war situation, everybody has a right to his opinion but the commander-in-chief has the final say.
“He appointed the service chiefs and I believe he knows when to make a change. I believe this is a situation whereby we have to look in a more strategic way, a more passionate way to divorce politics from security.”
Buratai explained that revealed that banditry had become a business that thrives because of the financial gains that the perpetrators derive from such illegal activities, adding that there are hired assassins posing as bandits.
He noted that although the Police remain the lead agency in internal security duties, the military had often been called to support civil authorities.
“The military, in this regard, comes in for internal security duties in aid of civil authority.
“So, if you look at it in this context, everybody should be concerned with all the activities of the bandits; be they in the communities where they get their funding whether from cattle rustling or mere killing for cash because some of them are hired assassins.
“If you look at it from that point; you will realise that they do it for the financial benefits they expect to derive from it”, he said.
The army chief refuted claims that the military has a running battle with Amnesty International; or any other right organisation in respect of human rights violations.
He said the military adheres to its rules of engagement in line with international laws of conflict; noting that the Army in its operations had abided strictly by its codes of conduct and United Nations rules.
Buratai continued: “Amnesty International is on its own, it is an international organisation; they have their roles and tasks; and we also have our roles and instruments of government. We have laid down rules of engagement.”
“We are highly trained with the international laws of armed conflict. We have all our documents that guide our troops during operations, we have our codes of conduct; and we follow the procedures as laid down by international communities such as the United Nations (UN), International Criminal Court (ICC); and all violations of rights are being investigated; also those that are found culpable are being punished appropriately.
“So, as far as the Nigerian Army is concerned; we have nothing against AI or any other human rights organisation. We are performing our constitutional roles”.