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How Jonathan’s Security Chiefs Bungled War Against Boko Haram

By The Leadership
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But for the deliberate sabotage and short-stemmed tactics employed by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s security aides in prosecuting the war against Boko Haram, the situation would have long been quelled, LEADERSHIP Weekend can now reveal authoritatively.

Since the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari and the subsequent appointment of a new national security adviser, Mohammed Monguno, as well as the new service chiefs led by Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin (chief of defence staff), the war has taken its toll on the sect, with the service chiefs promising to end the war by the end of December, this year.

A security source who spoke to LEADERSHIP Weekend on condition of anonymity, however explained that the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki and the then service chiefs, were allegedly more concerned with funds requisitions and purchases of military hardware than tactical management of the war. Our source further said that the former president was always availed several doctored intelligence reports, aimed mostly at getting approval for more funds intended to fight Boko Haram, whereas the huge sums never got fully devoted towards prosecuting the war.

Before his retirement in September, 2013, our source revealed that the current NSA, Mungono, then the Chief of Defence Intelligence had approached the former president and in a report, detailed how the Boko Haram war could be brought to an end without necessarily spending the billions of dollars that were regularly applied for and released under the guise of fighting Boko Haram. This move allegedly did not go well with the then service chiefs and that ultimate led to Mungono’s retirement.

“When Mungono approached the then President Jonathan, the president referred him to the then NSA who did not find Mungono’s boldness funny. “It was at that juncture that they set out to discredit Mungono as one who knew too much about the Boko Haram and hence had to be tossed off as he was painted to be in touch with the insurgents,” our source said.

The source which said the deliberate neglect of the Nigerian Army during the Jonathan administration was never his making, but actually as a result of his manipulation by the security aides who took advantage of the president’s purely civilian background to mess him up, said it was only few months to the election that it dawned on the former president that the Boko Haram war could cost him his re-election and thus the regalvanizing seen a few weeks to the election and the subsequent call by the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki for the postponement of the elections.

“There was no motivation for the soldiers and military fighting the war then as was seen in the picking and capture of towns by the Boko Haram at will, while our soldiers began acts of mutiny which was largely borne out of frustrations as they were being killed by the sect randomly while the aides pre-occupied themselves with funds requisitions which never got to see the light of day as it concerned concerted efforts at fighting Boko Haram.

“As a matter of fact, once one of the service chiefs under Jonathan had requested for funds assistance from both the Borno State government as well as from the federal government at the same time to buy vehicles. The Borno government quickly assisted with about 100 Hilux vehicles and further made available extra N40 million for branding of the vehicles to the service chief.

“Weeks later same service chief took funds for the purchase of same vehicles from the federal government and simply made do with what the Borno government had provided and diverted the newly approved fund,” the source stated.

It would be recalled that on his appointment, former Chief of Defence Staff, Marshall Alex Barde (rtd), had promised to wipe away the Boko Haram sect within three months only for him to make a volte-face afterwards. On being relieved of his duty, the former Defence Chief had blamed poor funding, training and logistics for the military’s failure to prosecute the war against Boko Haram during his era. Billions of dollars went down in prosecuting the war.

In the last five years, a whooping N4trillion was alleged to have been spent by the government.

In 2014 alone, it was alleged that a total of about N968bn was spent on the insurgency war. Former President Jonathan later came back for a loan of $1bn which is about N177bn and added to N968bn in just one year. That is over a trillion naira. “ At the end of the day, our soldiers are being sent to the war front having no weapon to fight “, said lagos lawyer, Femi Falana.

However, in 2013, when N348.9billion was budgeted for the military, a big chunk of that money was allegedly diverted to other areas rather than the one it was budgeted for. All these and the previous ones since the beginning of serious insurgency by Boko Haram, or even other budget predating the commencement of insurgency in Nigeria, have been questioned with suspicion by a cross section of Nigerians.

The suspicion has not been helped by the fact that most senior military officers in Nigeria have left the service as millionaires and billionaires, fueling the allegations that money meant for defence, over the years, have ended up in other places.

This probably explains why the Department of State Security has started a discreet probe of military contracts and arms deals. The probe is said to include arms procurement in the past few years.

Although the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), had clarified that enough modern arms and ammunition were gotten for the country, even posting pictures, the present government has set out to find out how much was spent on arms, the actual Defence budget, what was released and spent.

Of particular interest to the ongoing discreet investigation by the DSS is on the $1billion approved for the Jonathan administration by the senate. The ongoing investigation is said to particularly zero in on finding out if the loan was fully accessed or not, what it was spent on and what gaps to be filled.

Bearing all these in mind, Nigerians will anxiously await the outcome of the investigation.

Boko Haram Displaced Children Now Over 1.4 Million – UNICEF

More than 1.4 million children have been displaced by Boko Haram extremists operating in Nigeria’s Lake Chad region, but humanitarian funding for the crisis continues to fall short, the United Nations said yesterday Friday.

“With more refugees and not enough resources, our ability to deliver life-saving assistance on the ground is now seriously compromised,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa.

UNICEF has received less than a third of the $50.3 million it says it needs for humanitarian response across the region. And the number of displaced only continues to grow.

President Muhammadu Buhari has accorded the defeat of Boko Haram a top priority for his administration. The vast majority of the displaced children — 1.2 million of the total 1.4 million — are Nigerian, and were uprooted in the past five months, UNICEF said. More than half of the Nigerians are under the age of 5.

An estimated 265,000 displaced children are from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, who have been uprooted as the extremists continue to operate across borders. A multinational task force backed by all four countries, with support from Benin, is working to battle Boko Haram, which upped its extremist offensive in the past two years as it razed villages and kidnapped children from their schools.

Children who escape before they are recruited as soldiers, wives, or suicide bombers, are often left to fend for themselves in precarious conditions. UNICEF reported that 208,000 remain out of school and 83,000 do not have access to clean water. On top of that, 124,000 have not been vaccinated for measles, despite numerous outbreaks of the disease in camps for the displaced.

And according to Fontaine, these shortfalls are a direct result of humanitarian funding shortages in the region. “Without additional support, hundreds of thousands of children in need will lack access to basic health care, safe drinking water and education,” he said.