By Dr. Johnson Greg
Nigerian Government seems to be running out of excuses for the failure of its army to defeat an insurgency that has bedeviled the country for fifteen years and counting.
That the military forces of the biggest country in Africa could not defeat an insurgency of the Boko Haram caliber seems to defy logic. But that is until one understands Nigeria’s ugly underbelly. For years, the Nigerian military and the political class have been soaked deeply in corruption, which led to gross incompetence and ineptitude in governance as a whole and the inability of the military in particular.
The latest excuse the government is giving for failures in battles against insurgency is that the international community has refused to sell military hardwares to Nigeria. Indeed, this excuse has been there for years, only repeated when the government runs out of other excuses. The Minister of Information was recently reported to complain bitterly about the position of major arms suppliers nations. He said:
“Certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons. For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism. I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”
Nigerian officials should understand the legitimate and standard concerns of the international community about Nigeria and its government. Nigeria is untrustworthy in three major areas as regards procurement of advanced weapons:
(1) Human rights record: Nigeria has terrible human rights record. Any weapon it acquires will ultimately be used against civilians.
(2) Corruption: Weapon procurement will become an excuse for the officials to embezzle money.
(3) Through corruption and incompetence, the weapons may end up in the hands of the insurgents and that will escalate the violence.
The decision not to supply weapons to Nigerian Government remains a wise decision.