The President of Nigeria has claimed that army troops were denied weapons to fight Boko Haram militants who have allegiances to the ISIS terror group.
Muhammadu Buhari said that because of corrupt multi-billion dollar arms deals, military equipment was never procured for the soldiers.
Press TV reports:
President Buhari recently received a report from a 13-member committee set up to investigate the issue of arms procurement between 2007 and 2015.
He ordered late Tuesday anyone involved in the multi-billion dollar deals for weapons and equipment to be “brought to book.”
“The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the northeast were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition,” said the Nigerian president.
The corruption has resulted in the needless deaths of a significant number of Nigerians, Buhari said.
“Had the funds siphoned to these non-performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.”
According to the presidential statement, the investigation has “unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions.”
The probe came after soldiers complained that despite the military’s huge budget, troops were ill-equipped to fight Boko Haram. Front-line troops serving under Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari’s predecessor, frequently complained the militants were better armed and they lacked the proper equipment, including bullets, to fight.
President Buhari has ordered the arrest of Nigeria’s former National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
Buhari’s office said Dasuki had “awarded fictitious and phantom contracts” worth about two billion dollars for jets, helicopters and ammunition for the Nigerian army to fight Boko Haram. The weapons were never delivered.
Since taking the helm on May 29, the Buhari administration has been primarily focused on the fight against Boko Haram. The 72-year-old former military ruler has given the army until the end of the year to suppress the militants, who have killed at least 17,000 people and made over 2.5 million homeless since 2009.