The federal government on Thursday met with senior ex-military men in the South West geo-political zone of the country to deliberate on the best ways to handle the surge of insecurity in the region.
The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor led the delegation of the federal government to the meeting held at the Adekunle Fajuyi cantonment, Ojoo, Ibadan.
Irabor said anyone thinking that the Nigerian army was conniving with bandits to create tension in the country was hallucinating.
He said engagement of the ex-military officers which kicked off in the South West would be replicated in the six geo-political zones.
He said: “Currently, there are various security issues, and we have identified our retired colleagues, who, of course, have sold out, that is, we, who are still serving and those of them that are retired, we are all sold out to the unity, peace and progress of our nation.
“This speaks to their sense of patriotism and zeal. So, we believe in their retirement, that they would be better instruments of sensitisation of those who live around them, on issues bordering on peace and security. So, this interaction is actually to rub minds together. They will equally speak to us as to what they observed, what we need to do, and what we also observed, and that we want to see them do in their various communities. All in the hope of improving the state of peace across the country.
“After the South West geo-political zone, we will go to other geo-political zones. I think that we can only leverage on the wealth of experience that they have to be able to do this. That is why we are here. I believe it will be better for all of us at the end of the day.
“Well, it is preposterous to think that the military and other security agencies would be conniving with bandits. Do you connive with someone to take your life? That, of course, is a question that should dismiss that kind of allusion any day.
“All you need to know is that yes, on daily basis because of the technological tools, available to everyone of us, it is not impossible that criminally minded individuals may take advantage of these tools.
“That is the reason why on daily basis, we are reassessing our operational engagements, to ensure that not only would our engagement be intelligence-driven, we equally know that these bad elements, who live among us need be exposed. This is why we believe that this interaction is very necessary. I think from the outset, anyone who is hallucinating with the idea that the military or other security agencies are conniving, I think needs to have himself checked.”
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Civil-Military Cooperation, Rear Admiral Frederick Agu, said based on the training of the former military men and years of their experience, while in service, they were expected to begin to identify security issues in their domains and advise the Armed Forces of Nigeria on the likely means to tackle them.