Between 2019 Election And Another $1bn For Military Weapons
Nigeria News takes a look at the $1 billion recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to procure the military weapon.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signalled Nigeria’s readiness to procure fresh armament for the armed forces to the tune of a whopping one billion American dollars. There was a lot of noise when former President Goodluck Jonathan did almost something similar towards the 2015 general elections.
The Nigerian military needs arms, and quality ones at that. No doubt about it. But I refuse to believe that in the immediate circumstance what they need is more military equipment. It is not just Boko Haram that has made Nigeria’s security situation worse. There is herdsmen, kidnappers, assassins, bandits and armed robbers among those killing defenceless Nigerians across the country.
To me, what Nigeria’s security agencies need is a complete overhaul and a body language from the country’s Commander-In-Chief that he does not favour Fulanis, Sunnis or distant relations tied to our current mess in terms of security and governance, generally.
Of course, the recently released list of alleged looters of the commonwealth is a case in point. The looters’ list is an exact opposite of what an ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo would have released.
Obasanjo jailed corrupt members of his political party. He jailed his corrupt friends. He is not a saint, no doubt. But the signal from both the EFCC and ICPC, which Obasanjo initiated, was that corrupt persons in and out of official circles need to be afraid. This is not so with Buhari’s administration today. Only those outside of his party and inner circle need to be afraid.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo descended on Odi and Zaki Biam, after our soldiers were killed by gun-wielding civilians. Of course, the old man paid in negative PR for the alleged human rights abuses in both places, when he sent in the military to restore order. But needed sanity prevailed in both places afterwards.
Buhari is a Sunni. Unarmed Shiites were mowed down in their hundreds by Nigerian soldiers without ANY soldier being killed or harmed before the massacre of members of this religious minority, who were mainly women and children. What Obasanjo did in Odi and Zaki Biam put together paled in significance to the Zaria massacre because there was NO need for live bullets or armoured tanks to confront a group of civilians involved in a religious procession.
Accusations of being soft on killer herdsmen by the Buhari administration did not start today. A member of his inner circle even claimed a while back they were foreign herdsmen. He spoke as if Nigeria has no border and nobody in charge of maintaining law and order in the country.
He spoke as if the Federal Government could only confront Nigerian herdsmen bearing arms within our space. The disgrace was capped with payment of large sums of money to these ‘foreigners’ so they could stop killing our people. Yet, the killings did not stop. It has worsened.
Troops movements in the Boko Haram theatre are well known to be often compromised by persons who give out information. Nigeria has lost countless quality military officers to this mind-boggling development, which should have been nipped in the bud a long time back. It is the same with the movement into Nigeria of battle-hardened Arabs and Chadians involved with Boko Haram.
Why has it been difficult to shut down the Chadian and Nigerien border, for a while? Cameroon’s may not be necessary. Nigeria is doing very well on that front with the ‘Tarka-me-I-Dabor-You’ attitude towards the French-speaking country. The Ambazonians have taken up arms against Yaounde. And, if Nigeria should lend a helping hand, they’ll be free to break away. Of course, Nigeria is helping Yaounde to contain the Ambazonians with the regular arrests and forceful deportation of its leaders.
But Buhari needs to watch it here too. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have today is the worst in terms of performance. It is the same with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), which has serially failed in its duties. What if France is encouraging the perpetuation of this Boko Haram war under the guise of assisting to end it? I remember J. J. Rawlings kicking against our leaders being invited for a security summit about Boko Haram in Paris a while ago. The foxy military man must have his reasons.
A strong and unified Nigeria remains a stumbling block to France’s expansionist moves in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic. To make matters worse for us, the United States has initiated plans to establish a military base in Ghana. Washington already has a thriving one in the Niger Republic, while France has solid footholds in Cameroon and Chad. If Nigeria had been what it was in the past, the weakling called the President of Ghana would not have given ANY consideration to that myopic move. Kwame Nkrumah should be weeping in his grave now, with Thomas Sankara wailing about the surrender of African sovereignty to fresh colonists.
Buhari needs to look beyond possible funding of the 2019 general elections with this attitude of going for military equipment at this time. Our military has challenges. But it is not from the fighting men, who continue to bravely bleed and die for Nigeria. The challenges are right there with Buhari himself. A Chief of Army Staff involved in running a private business like late Gen. Sani Abacha has no business remaining in uniform. It is bad for morale among the top echelon of professional soldiers. Let the man retire and go to Dubai.