Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
Wives of military officers in Borno State have protested the deployment of their husbands to engage Boko Haram insurgents with inferior weapons, for fear that they could be killed and their families left to suffer.
The women in their dozens barricaded the entrance of the 21st Armoured Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Giwa Barrack, Maiduguri, preventing entry into and outside the barracks while their protest lasted.
They described operations against well-armed terrorists by ill – equipped troops as a suicide mission, adding that families of officers who have fallen in battles with insurgents in the region have not been assisted by the government and are currently suffering.
“We won’t allow our husbands to be killed as the military authorities refused to equip them with sophisticated weapons that can match the one of Boko Haram. Those that their bread winners were killed in the course of defending their fatherland were suffering, as the government has not done anything for them to alleviate their sufferings,” some women shouted.
The women called on the federal government to properly equip men of the armed forces to enable them properly engage the terrorists, without necessarily endangering their own live.
This will be the second of such protests in the last 24 hours as the wives of soldiers at the Maimalari barrack, in Maiduguri had protested for the same reason a day earlier.
The issue of inferior ammunition with which Nigerian soldiers are equipped has been observed as one of the reasons why the country is losing the war on terror.
While many Nigerians including governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and Senator Ali Ndume have observed that Boko Haram insurgents are better armed than Nigerian troops, the military high command has always insisted that the soldiers adequately equipped.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan recently requested approval from the National Assembly to borrow $1 billion, to equip the security forces and further the fight against terrorism in the country.