Masari: We can’t watch our people killed
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Thursday declared that soldiers have the licence to kill criminals but must not be killed, and urged troops to show dilligence in prosecuting the war against armed banditry,
The position of the army chief is coming as Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State said his administration would not watch bandits kill Katsina people without any counter-measures.
Buratai, who made the declaration during a morale- boosting tour of military formations in Zamfara and Katsina states, said the army was constitutionally empowered to protect the citizenry and must not give room to criminals to operate.
“Ensure you do your job diligently without delay because as soldiers you have the licence to kill criminals but you must not be killed,” he said.
Buratai who spoke through the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 8 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Hakeem Otiki, promised an enhanced welfare package for the troops while urging them to crush any criminal element in the area.
“It is your responsibility to safeguard this nation from every form of security threat. Make sure you patrol the flashpoints both day and night. Do not hobnob with any local to avoid distractions,” he instructed.
He applauded the commitment of the troops while tasking them to do more because “much has been given to you; so, much is expected accordingly”.
Speaking earlier, Buratai, who was represented by Chief of Training and Operations, Army, Major General Lamidi Adeosun, urged the troops to be professional and responsive in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
“According to him, “as professionals, you are constitutionally tasked to protect Nigeria and her citizens. You must use your weapons legally to ensure that criminals operating in this region are decimated immediately”.
Receiving the army chief at the Katsina Government House, Governor Bello Masari, said his government would not watch his people killed by bandits, noting that collaboration with security agencies would be prioritised.
“We cannot sit down and watch our people being killed. We are going to do our best by providing every necessary support to the Nigerian Army in fighting these devilish elements.
“We believe the military will crush the bandits same way they defeated Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east and so, we will not relent in supporting you to do your job,” he said.
He said the problems in the North-west had no ethnic or religious colouration.
He said the capacity of the Nigerian military was such that regional armed forces looked up to the military because of their immeasurable roles and importance within the African continent.
Speaking earlier, Adeosun posited that the purpose of the visit was to interact with the troops as well as to assess the security situation in the state and the North-west region.
“This visit is in line with the tradition of the COAS to pay homage to the executive governor of the state and assess the disposition of troops, and the security situation in the region,” he said.
He noted that security situation in Katsina State recently escalated through the inimical activities of armed bandits but was curtailed by the gallant troops.
“He also informed the governor that peace has returned to the once troubled areas, especially in Batsari Local Government Area (LGA).
He acknowledged the efforts and support of the state government, urging them not to be tired, a statement signed by Army Spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, said.