We are reviving due process, probity in military purchases, says Buhari
U.K pledges more assistance against terrorism
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said his administration was taking urgent and appropriate steps towards restructuring the defence infrastructure to restore order, due process and probity to the procurement processes of the nation’s Armed Forces.
Speaking at a meeting with the British Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, Buhari lamented that the procurement of equipment for Nigeria’s Armed Forces, which followed due process in the past, had become open to corruption and shady deals under the last administration.
They just put foreign exchange in a briefcase and traveled to procure equipment for the military. That is why we have found ourselves in the crisis we are now facing,” the President said.
Welcoming the offer by the British Government to assist Nigeria in defence procurements, intelligence gathering and training, Buhari restated his conviction that the international community must collaborate more and work with greater unity of purpose to overcome global terrorism.
Terrorism has become very sophisticated now. If developed nations can be attacked, and hundreds of lives lost, how much more developing countries? In the West African sub-region, Nigeria is the main battleground of the Boko Haram insurgency. We have made a lot of progress against the terrorists, but we will welcome more assistance from our friends and the international community.”
In a chat with State House correspondents after the meeting with Buhari, the British military chief assured that the UK would increase its military personnel training to Nigerian armed forces by more 100 percent.
His words: “For this year, for example, we have about 130 military personnel here helping to train the Nigerian soldiers. Next year, more than double, more than 300 are coming to offer training, particularly to improve the Army’s resilience to impoverished explosive devises (IEDs) that have been left behind by Boko Haram.”
Fallon said he was in the country to see what more Britain could do to support Nigeria in battling terrorism and violent extremism. “Groups like Boko Haram don’t believe in democracy and freedom of choice, so it’s a common fight for us all,” he told President Buhari.
On the involvement of the British military authorities in the rehabilitation efforts of the present administration, he said: “Yes, we want to do more to help stabilize those areas once the terrorists have been driven out: that means sustaining them with not only reconciliation but economic development and security for them to go back to their villages, with the knowledge that they need to be protected and the infrastructure there to be repaired.”
Nigerian Defence Minister, Brig-Gen. Mohammed Mansur Dan Ali, (rtd), said the Nigerian military was working towards meeting the December deadline given to them by the President to flush out the terrorists, noting that the deadline is just a guideline to action.
Asked if the government was considering an extension of the December deadline, he said: “Time line is for those in the military. We were given time line in December, but December is not the end of the operation. It is a campaign. Campaigns last for years, not dates.”
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