A global watchdog organization, Transparency International (TI) has revealed that no less than 20,000 Nigerians died as a result of faulty arms procurement deals carried out by some top military brass in connivance with some politicians in the country.
According to the international watch dog, in addition to loss of materials, and human lives, the country also lost a whooping sum of $15 billion through faulty arms deals with which to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
It said the allegations of misappropriation of funds meant for equipping the military have persistently trailed the battle against Boko Haram and could only be better if concerted efforts are made to stem the tide.
The latest report by TI on Nigeria disclosed that, there are evidences of some top military officials creating panicky situation in the North East area of the country for government to approve spending, including contracts for armed procurement, which benefits they reap.
In its report titled, ‘Focus on the Crisis in Nigeria,’ the agency was clear in narrating cases of abuse of the system by some corrupt military officials, in connivance with politicians.
“Corrupt military officials have been able to benefit from the conflict through the creation of fake defence contracts, the proceeds of which are often laundered abroad in the United Kingdom (UK), United States (U.S.) and elsewhere.
“This has crippled the Nigerian military in fighting an aggressive ideologically inspired enemy such as Boko Haram,” the watchdog added, pointing to cases of soldiers taking on the militants without ammunition or fuel.
TI aknowledged the fact that in 2016 even the acting president Yemi Osinbajo confirmed that government was still probing how more than $15 billion was stolen through fraudulent arms procurement deals.
Many opinion moulders said they are not surprised by the revelation.
Mr. Robert Akanow, a security expert said one the reasons Nigeria is not winning the Boko Haram terrorists, despite the huge human and material resources poured into it, is lack of transparency.
Another observer, Kelechi Dibiachi linked the recession that Nigeria has been passing through to the avoidable wastes that the fight against the north east insurgency had consumed.
But the spokesman of the Defence Headquarters, Brig-Gen. John Enenche, told newsmen on Thursday that TI was seeking to block the support Nigeria is getting in the war against terrorism by concerned countries.
He said the leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria had done a lot to train, boost troops morale and procure vital equipment through due process, for the North East operations against Boko Haram in particular and other operations.
Enenche noted that the military had already been commended by the United Nations (UN) on the war against corruption, adding that it was this good image that the TI was working hard to destroy.
According to him: “The attention of Defence Headquarters has been drawn to an inciting corruption allegation against military officials, by Transparency International . Let me start by making it clear that this sweeping allegation is false with the following clarifications:
“The present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria has done a lot to train, boost troops morale and procure vital equipment through due process, for the North East operations against Boko Haram in particular and other operations.
“The Defence Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters have established procurement branches that are guided by the rules and regulations of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).
“The Ministry of Defence deals directly with states and governments on defence equipment procurement without using contractors or vendors any longer.”
Enenche assured the general public that there was no calculated, deliberate or institutionalised corruption in any form within the military, stressing that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained focused and committed to providing security to lives and property, and totally loyal and subordinated to the Commander-in- Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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