The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the Nigerian Army will not hesitate to use force should the dialogue between the Federal Government and militants fails.
Buratai also appealed to Niger Delta militants to embrace democratic means in their demands and desist from engaging in violence.
The Army chief made this remark in Port Harcourt on Monday at the inauguration of the 2 Brigade Headquarters complex with an Olympic-size swimming pool.
He explained that though the Federal Government was committed to negotiation, the use of force had always been the first action before dialogue.
Buratai added that it was necessary for the militant groups in the oil-rich region to take advantage of government’s readiness to engage them in talks.
“Government is still committed to dialogue and whereby this cannot go on, then, there could be resort to other means. The non-kinetic (force) means has always been the source first before the government can make recourse to the kinetic means.
“So, there is need for the Niger Delta Avengers to see reason and engage in dialogue with government,” the COAS said.
Buratai, who was represented on the occasion by the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, pointed out that the military was ready to provide security during the rerun in Rivers State if it was called upon to do so.
He lamented that the Army was facing shortage of accommodation, offices and other facilities needed for optimal performance.
The Army chief stated, “The newly-built RSM accommodation quarters and brigade administrative headquarters will provide a conducive environment for higher productivity by officers and soldiers.
“Also, the Olympic-size swimming pool will avail troops the opportunity to continue to train and prepare for amphibious operations in our maritime environment.”
He lauded the efforts of the immediate past Commander of 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt, Brig. Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, for ensuring the completion of the projects, which started six months ago.
Olabanji, who is currently the Commander, 3 Brigade, Kano, explained that his decision to embark on the project was informed by the need to improve the command and control operations of the brigade.