Pressure On Buhari To Probe Military Spending Under His Administration
Outraged at the increasing atrocities of insurgents, especially the killing of dozens of troops by Boko Haram in Metele, Borno State, Nigerian citizens and groups have urged an investigation into spending by the military.
This came as presidency sources confirmed that a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and military chiefs was again held yesterday at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP) expressed “concern that several billions of naira allocated to the military to defend the country have neither contributed to improving the ability of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and other armed groups nor provided the much-needed security especially for Nigerians in the northeast of the country.”
In an open letter to the president by SERAP’s senior legal adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju, the organisation said: “Opacity and deficiencies in the way arms purchases are decided and controlled, if not urgently addressed, would continue to expose our soldiers to risk of attacks and killings; displace people and destroy their means of livelihoods and render them homeless, thereby undermining human rights, including the right to life, right to personal security, right to education and right to livelihood.”
It also urged Buhari to “immediately refer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to Article 13 of the Rome Statute, all allegations of corruption in the spending of funds meant to purchase arms to empower Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram, including the apparent diversion and sharing of the over $2 billion under the former government of President Goodluck Jonathan and approved spending by your own government.”
In a statement by National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko in Abuja yesterday, The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on its part, blamed the Federal Government and the army for sabotaging the war through the release of so-called repentant fighters. It questioned the wisdom in freeing terrorists when their other members are engaged in serious battles with the military.
“This government by this atrocious sabotage of our laws has made the country a laughing stock in the international community and has encouraged the continuous waging of war against the Nigerian state by armed non-state actors, since it would seem that some persons in top government and military positions are milking Nigeria dry from the humongous cash voted for national security.”
Expressing “grief” and a “heavy heart” at the killing of the soldiers, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), John Gbor, at the weekend noted: “Early this year, about $1 billion was sought to buy ammunition to fight terrorism. What did we get since? Recently, trans border terrorists killed no fewer than 70 soldiers plus a commander following an attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele. Worse still, a large cache of arms and ammunition and military equipment were carted off.”
In a statement released in Ibadan by the Director of Strategic Communication, John Gbor Campaign Organisation, Comrade Mike Angel, the presidential hopeful criticised the Buhari government for allegedly turning the fight against terrorism into a “hotbed of corruption.” Sambisa Forest is now “a metaphor for a cash cow that needs to be castrated,” he added.