By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The Nigerian Army has warned groups agitating for the dismemberment of the country and committing felony to desist from such acts as once deployed, it shall not hesitate to apply the rule of engagement to the letter.
Speaking with journalists Monday at the Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba near Jos, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 3 Armoured Division, Major-General Hassan Umaru also warned officers and soldiers not to take sides in any conflict in the country.
Giving a reminder on the rule of engagement for internal security operations, the GOC stated that the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria empowers the Armed Forces to suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority to restore order when called upon.
He explained that the rule of engagement of internal security operations include principle of minimum force and proportionality must be applied at all times.
His words, “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 to the letter. 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.”
Major-General Umaru added, “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.
“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.”
He highlighted others to include the application of minimum force limited in its intensity and duration and commensurate with the level of threat posed as well as the application of force necessary to achieve an immediate aim among others.
He informed the public that “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.”