The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Olubunmi Irefin, has defended the proposed Nationwide ‘Operation Positive Identification’ exercise, saying that it is solely driven by intelligence.
The GOC who delivered a lecture on ‘Contemporary security issues in the country’, at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, said that the operation is not meant to scare the public, but the insurgency war demands that they Army pre-empts the activities of the insurgents.
He revealed that over 20 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested recently in Lagos in their sleeper cell through the operation.
“It is an intelligence-driven operation; we actually know the kind of people we are looking for because we get information.
“It’s not that we are stopping everybody; we are helping you all live in peace. The insurgents just need one percent to rubbish our 99% success; so we try to pre-empt them, in the process, one or two individuals might just be bumped down and that is what Nigerians will escalate.
“If we paraded the over 20 persons we have arrested in Lagos through Operation Positive Identification, the whole Lagos will be in panic mood, all of them confessed to be members of Boko haram and they are quietly in their sleeper cell, so we should not go there to identify who they are, make an effort to pick them? So when they strike, the first person they will ask is the GOC, what are you doing to allow one Boko Haram? And it will make a mockery of my 99% success.”
General Irefin who also spoke about the sums requested by the Army on military hardware in the fight against terrorism, asked critics to seek more enlightenment on what it takes to protect a nation against aggression and terrorism.
“A lot of people in this country don’t even know that the country is at war; it’s the military and Boko Haram. And so when they say give $1bn to the military, one “security expert” will say ‘change it to Naira’, you’re talking about N360bn as if we are going to buy bread and bean cake (Akara).
“We are talking about $1bn to buy equipment that can be knocked out at battle. What can $1bn buy; we are talking of tanks T92-2000, google it and see the price and now look at how many of such we need; don’t let us even go into aircraft and ships,” he said.