The Defence Headquarters has warned that the military would no longer tolerate illegality in the name of militias, saying experience abounded to show that it was not easy to determine their end once they started, as those who started them would no longer be able to rein them in.
The warning was given by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major-General Chris Olukolade, when he paid a one-day working visit to the 3 Armoured Division and stopped over at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State Council Secretariat on Saturday.
Olukolade also said that the military could not tolerate impunity and indiscipline from any member of the armed forces.
According to him, “We can no longer tolerate a situation where a group of people would constitute themselves into a militia group and begin to kill innocent people cruelly and unnecessarily.
“They do not just organise ambush and kill soldiers but also abduct, and then soldiers are found not just dead but mutilated. We should not encourage illegality in the name of promoting militias. We have seen in other places that when it starts, it becomes difficult to manage”, he said.
Olukolade noted that the Defence Headquarters was very much interested in investigating the incident in Wase, where about 54 people were allegedly killed by the soldiers, judging from the pronouncements in the National Assembly.
Beyond that, the Defence spokesman said the Wase episode had attracted some global attention, which had sent a signal that people should be careful in managing issues related to it.
Olukolade noted that the security agencies were interested in ensuring that the nation was secure, adding that all they called for was cooperation.
He cited the North-East where he said the military was working hand-in-hand with people who had volunteered to support the mission.
He added: “When this incident happened, some people decided to syndicate stories that are already biased from their outlook.
“Clearly, those stories were syndicated with a view to achieving certain perspectives, quite often incorrect”.
The Defence spokesman, however, stressed that the military authorities would not tolerate or encourage the abuse of the rights of Nigerians. “Let it not be imagined anywhere that there is an orchestrated plan to eliminate anybody. The military and security agencies are created essentially to protect Nigerians and they would do that”.