COAS: We've Sent Criminals Underminin­g Nigeria's Security to God

Magashi defends Buhari’s threats against illegal arm bearers

- Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, has declared that many bandits and other criminals underminin­g the nation's security have been sent to God to answer for their crimes.

This is just as the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), said undesirabl­e elements carrying unauthoris­ed arms are now being taught in the language they understand, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Chief of Army Staff spoke yesterday, shortly after being decorated with his new rank of lieutenant general by Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

Asked what message he has for the bandits and other criminals underminin­g the national security given Buhari’s declaratio­n that they would be spoken to in the language they understand, the COAS stated: “That’s what we have started doing already and many of them have been sent to God to go and answer for their crimes. And we will continue to do that.”

Yahaya thanked the president for the confidence reposed in him, pledging his unalloyed loyalty on behalf of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army.

He promised that the army will continue to do its best to arrest insecurity in the country, particular­ly insurgency and other violent crimes, adding that the military would continue to leverage on the successes recorded so far and its experience.

He said: “I want to first most sincerely appreciate the President and Commanderi­n-Chief of the armed forces for the confidence reposed in me and now being decorated lieutenant general and Chief of Army Staff.

“And I want to pledge my unalloyed loyalty on behalf of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and also continue to do our very best to arrest this challenge that we have, particular­ly insurgency, insecurity and other violent crimes.

“We are already getting successes. We will leverage on that including our experience in this job and by the grace of God, we shall get there,” he added.

Also speaking, Magashi said the ceremony was a normal decoration and that the president had given his directives on what he wanted them to achieve.

He said: "It is a normal decoration, the president has already talked to us about how he wants us to operate, how he wants us to solve the problem of this insecurity especially in the North-east and he has already started."

Asked what the president expects from the new army chief, he said:" I think like every other chief, his mandate is to bring to an end this banditry, kidnapping and the Boko Haram issue and I think right from his resumption to date there is a lot of improvemen­t in the way we are fighting this war. The planning is thorough, the activities are going according to operationa­l plans and I am sure with that kind of arrangemen­t we will get out of the insurgency problem. "

On whether the military has started implementi­ng the president’s order that criminals underminin­g national security should be treated in the language they would understand, Magashi said: "I really don't seem to see any need for explanatio­n; if you commit an offence you will be treated, you will be tried, if you are guilty you will be punished.

"But for anybody picking arms against soldiers, you know what it means; we will also treat him according to the law. I don't think that there is anything wrong to get rid of your enemy if he wants to get rid of you and that is what the President is saying. You cannot burn our weapon and be allowed to stay alive because he can use that weapon against you. So we use the weapon against them and that is what we are doing.

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