Falana, Adegboruwa Warn Against Hiring Mercenary To Fight Insecurity
The plan by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and other North-West governors to hire foreign mercenaries to help fight the insurgency in the region has been described as unconstitutional.
Following the Monday night attack, where terrorists bombed a Kaduna-bound train with nearly 400 passengers and rail workers onboard, El-Rufai said he and his colleagues in the North-West would not mind hiring foreign mercenaries if the Federal Government failed to secure the country.
He spoke on Friday to State House correspondents after he visited the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, Monday night’s attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, which left eight passengers dead, 21 still uncounted for and several others injured, could have been avoided if the Federal Government had heeded his earlier warnings.
Speaking in Hausa after the meeting, El-Rufai said, “Why is it that up till now, the security has not gone to kill them? Where are our soldiers? Why have they not done it? That is why I have come to see Mr President.
“And also I have said that if these actions are not taken, it becomes a must for us as governors to take measures to protect our citizens, even if it means we will import mercenaries from outside the country to do it. If our soldiers fail, I swear to God, we will do that. This issue has reached an alarming state.”
However, some Senior Advocates of Nigeria had warned against such a move describing it as unconstitutional.
A human rights lawyer and senior advocate, Mr Femi Falana, said Buhari remained the commander-in-chief and that only he could approve the deployment of mercenaries.
Falana, in a message he sent to Sunday PUNCH, argued that any move by El-Rufai or any of the governors to hire foreign mercenaries would be unconstitutional.
He said, “By virtue of Section 130 of the constitution, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Governors are not competent to hire mercenaries to secure any part of Nigeria. Frankly speaking, Nigerian soldiers are ready to wage counter-insurgency operations but they are ill-equipped and ill-motivated.”
Falana said Nigeria had one of the best military capabilities in the world but alleged that resources meant for them were being stolen by a few unpatriotic officers and members of the ruling class.
He added, “The constitution provides for the creation of the Nigeria Police Council made of the President as the Chair, the Inspector-General of Police, Chair of the Police Service Commission and the 36 state governors.
“Apart from physical security, the federating units are not addressing the crisis of social insecurity. 90 million citizens have been forced into the cocoon of poverty. About 15 million out of school children are roaming the streets, ready to be recruited by criminal gangs. These are the challenges of insecurity to be addressed. This is not a job for mercenaries.”
Another senior advocate, Mr Ahmed Raji, faulted El-Rufai’s threat. According to Raji, hiring external hands to fight terrorists was not just unconstitutional, but would dampen the image of the Nigerian military in the global space.
He warned El-Rufai to tread with caution as this might open doors to bigger problems and “signal the end of a united Nigeria.”
Raji added, “I don’t think states can bring in mercenaries. I can see the frustration of the affected states but allowing states to bring in mercenaries may open doors to bigger problems that may signal the end of a united Nigeria. Any state can then contrive a crisis and bring in mercenaries to different parts of Nigeria which may compromise our security system and unity.
“The Federal Government has a duty to maintain internal security and where necessary it should involve external aid including mercenaries. It should only be a last resort because inviting mercenaries does not reflect well on the image of our security officials and their morale. I tend to see the alert by the Kaduna Governor as an empathic wake-up call to the Federal Government. The governor knows better.”