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As denial shrouds the truth about the missing funds and arms, The ICIR chronicles some occasions where military officers demanded better arms or openly showed concerns about lack of arms and ammunition during the tenure of the former service chiefs.
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President Muhammadu Buhari had, on several occasions, emphasised his administration’s commitment to properly equip the military. Putting some of his plans to action, he approved $1 billion for the purchase of military equipment, but Nigerian military officers still lamented lack of adequate weapons after the approval.
Seven months after the approval of the funds, Nigerian soldiers in Metele, Borno State, made a video crying that they were being killed due to lack of proper weapons to fight the insurgents in the region.
While filming the video, a man who spoke as one of the soldiers in the state, called for the intervention of the federal government, saying “these people (insurgents) are killing us.”
Less than a year after, amidst the fierce fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group in Borno State where thousands have been killed and hundreds displaced, a viral video emerged in January 2019, showing Nigerian soldiers pushing an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) as part of efforts to jumpstart it.
The voice in the background of the video encouraged the soldiers to push the armoured tank while lamenting the state of the Nigerian Army.
“Nigerian Army, there is problem o,” the voice said.
See what our soldiers are facing in Borno.
Buhari and his inept Government have abandoned these young men to suffer to death.
— Mama Paul the Tech Bro and Animator (@YarKafanchan) January 24, 2019
In 2020, a soldier of the Nigerian Army Lance Corporal Martins made a 12-minute video, where he said Nigerians soldiers were being killed due to lack of proper weapons to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
According to Martins, other officers of the army that had spoken against the availability of adequate weapon had been arrested on orders Buratai. He added that sometimes, the soldiers were given guns without bullets.
Also in 2020, an army commander was removed from his position for revealing the inferior military wares and poor equipment of troops in his command.
Olusegun Adeniyi, a major-general and then commander of operation Lafiya Dole, had disclosed the state of the weapon of his troops while briefing the chief of army staff from the combat zone after successfully repelling an attack from Boko Haram insurgents.
Adeniyi was eventually court-martialled, convicted and demoted by three years on grounds of violating some sections of the policy on the use of social media for personnel of the armed forces of Nigeria.
No smoke without fire
The military does not have a clean slate on corruption. While there has been no direct corruption link to the former service chiefs, there have been reported cases where top officials were found guilty of embezzling funds meant for the Nigerian Army.
Prominent of such case is the ‘dismissal with disgrace’ of Hakeem Otiki, a major-general and former general office commander (GOC) of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, who was found guilty of N100 million fraud.
Before his conviction by the military, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had, on January 23, 2020, ordered the interim forfeiture of the sum of $376, 120 allegedly seized from Otiki to the federal government of Nigeria.