Why Buhari Should Consider Hiring Foreign Mercenaries – Chairman of Representative Defense Committee
The president of the House Defense CommitteeBabajimi Benson (APC, Lagos), asked President Muhammadu Buhari to consider hiring mercenaries to combat the worsening insecurity in the country.
Mr Benson made the call on Friday during an interview on “Politics Today”, a political program on Channels TV.
While acknowledging Mr Buhari’s publicly known opposition to this option due to his past as a military officer, the lawmaker insisted that the current security situation calls for drastic measures.
Nigeria’s romance with foreign military mercenaries
In 2015, the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan hired a South African private security company, Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection, (STTEP) to fight terrorists in the North East.
Ahead of the 2015 elections, Buhari criticized the then administration’s reliance on foreign mercenaries to fight the insurgency.
Ahead of his inauguration, in a meeting with members of the Arewa Consultative Forum, he described as “shameful” Mr Jonathan’s decision to get foreign mercenaries.
“What is more worrying is the fact that the Nigerian military has to rely on South African mercenaries before it can achieve recent success in the war against Boko Haram. This situation is shameful and unacceptable,” he said.
However, as the security situation deteriorated under his leadership, there were renewed calls for Nigeria to get help from outside the country.
Following the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, Kaduna State Governor and close ally of the President Nasir El-rufai vowed that if the federal government is unable to move the terrorists from the forests of the northwest, the governors will consider recruiting mercenaries.
“I complained to Mr. President and I swear to God that if no action is taken, we as governors will take action to protect the lives of our people.
“If that means deploying foreign mercenaries to come and do the job, we will do that to meet those challenges.”
Similarly, the governor of Borno, Babangana Zulum, also Many times called for the deployment of mercenaries in the Northeast.
Lately, insecurity has been brought to the president’s doorstep as terrorists attacked the capital.
Eight soldiers among the presidential guards were recently killed in an ambush by terrorists in the federal capital. On Wednesday, the minority Senate caucus gave Buhari a six-week ultimatum to address insecurity or risk impeachment.
On Thursday, the PDP caucus in the House also joined their Senate counterparts in the impeachment movement.
The Army is Overworked – Benson
While advocating for the hiring of mercenaries, Mr Benson said the armed forces were overstretched as there were military operations all over the country.
He said Nigeria had a vacuum that needed to be filled by mercenaries.
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“If I were to be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, I would seek the services of mercenaries or people you call contractors.
“The security situation is deteriorating, our armed forces are in demand. There are operations in 35 of Nigeria’s 36 states. They need the support of the police, the NSCDC.
“Which is not at the expected level. So they are stretched, the equipment is not there as we envision. The exchange rate plummets. If I was the C-in-C, I would hire the mercenaries, who are already equipped,” he said.
However, the call for mercenaries was opposed by another guest on the show, Bulama Bukarti, a security expert.
He said mercenaries have a very poor record when it comes to ending wars, noting that Chad and other West African countries with mercenary services have mixed results.
He added that mercenaries’ poor human rights record helps terrorists recruit.
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