The Nigerian Army has warned secessionists against agitating for the country’s break-up.
The General Officer Commanding, 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Hassan Umaru, gave the warning on Monday at a press conference in Maxwell Kobe Cantonment, Rukuba, Plateau State.
Apart from Boko Haram insurgents in the North East of Nigeria, some separatists under the banner of Indigenous People of Biafra and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra in the South-East, have been organizing street protests in recent time demanding for a Biafra Republic.
“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 GOC 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.
Gen. Umaru also stressed 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 to 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 line with the presidential deadline given to the Nigerian Army.