International anti-corruption organization, Transparency International, TI, has said that Nigeria’s anti-terrorism campaign in the North East is not making the desired progress because of corruption in the country’s military.
TI made this known in a report released on Thursday, saying there was lack of transparency in the award of contracts.
“Corrupt military officers 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,” the report read.
The anti-corruption body says developments such as these make it difficult for the military to acquire the required equipment and training to take on the militants who are armed with sophisticated weapons.
TI noted that corruption in the military has left the soldiers on the field “without vital equipment, insufficiently trained and under-resourced.”
“This has crippled the Nigerian military in fighting an aggressive ideologically inspired enemy such as Boko Haram.”
The international anti-corruption body said it was disappointing that soldiers were reportedly run out of ammunition or fuel while in the battlefield, adding that such scenarios could be prevented if government’s defence budget and procurement procedures were made more transparent.
Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, called for a quick action against corruption in the Nigeria’s defence sector.
She said: “Corruption in Nigeria is not just a problem for Nigerians, but a concern for all of those looking to tackle violent extremism around the world.
“Entering into blind defence deals that ignore the rampant corruption in Nigeria’s defence sector means international partners could inadvertently be giving rise to Boko Haram.
“Likewise, the doors to allow corrupt officials to launder their ill-gotten gains out of Nigeria should be slammed shut, through the active denial of visas and other domestic legislation that targets corrupt money.”
However, in a quick reaction, spokesman of the Nigerian Defence headquarters, John Enenche, a Major General, denied the report by Transparency International, describing it as false.
Enenche maintained that issues of corruption cannot be traced to the current leadership of the Nigerian military.
According to him, “A lot has been done to train, boost troops’ morale and procure vital equipment through due process,” adding that the military “will continue to get better with the right kind of leadership that we have today”.
Enenche reiterated that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has ensured that the troops participating in the counter insurgency operation, codenamed ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, get the required training and equipment.