The International anti-corruption body, Transparency International says military corruption is weakening Nigeria’s efforts to effectively fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
A statement released by the anti-graft agency on Thursday President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to tackle corruption and terrorism is being hampered by the lack of transparency in military contract awards.
“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 UK, US and elsewhere.”
This it says makes it difficult for the military to acquire the required equipment and training to take on the militants who are armed with sophisticated weapons.
The group calls on the government to make its defense budget and procurement systems more transparent.
In 2016, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said around $15 billion had been stolen from the public purse under the previous government through fraudulent arms procurement deals.
According to Transparency International, this had left the military “without vital equipment, insufficiently trained, low in morale and under-resourced”.
“This has crippled the Nigerian military in fighting an aggressive ideologically inspired enemy such as Boko Haram,” the watchdog said, pointing to cases of soldiers taking on the militants without ammunition or fuel.”
A military spokesman, Major General John Enenche has denied the claims by the international watchdog. According to him, the issue of corruption cannot be traced to the current crop of military officers.
“A lot has been done to train, boost troops’ morale and procure vital equipment through due process,” said Major General John Enenche, adding that the military “will continue to get better with the right kind of leadership that we have today”.
Gen. John Enenche says the military recaptured much of the territory claimed by Boko Haram since the conflict began in 2009. But the reclaimed areas are often razed towns or islands of relative safety and highways connecting them to larger cities.
Adding that under the Buhari administration, the troops are getting the required training and equipment and will get better.