‘Arms Deal Scam Should Not Be Allowed To Affect Morale Of Troops’

By Samson Ezea   |   19 December 2015   |   12:18 am  
Captain Umar Aliyu

Captain Umar Aliyu

Retired military officer and security expert, Captain Umar Aliyu speaks on the ongoing probe of the security fund scam involving former national security adviser and others.

Do you think the ongoing arms deal saga involving former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and others could affect the battle against the insurgency in the Northeast region?
Indeed, official releases concerning huge sums of monies meant for the procurement of arms, linked to the former NSA are quite mind boggling to say the least; however, properly managed this should not be allowed to tell on the morale of troops; sons and daughters of Nigeria, who put their lives on the line to make Nigeria strong; not the less so, their families, parents and relations.

It is quite harrowing to lose loved ones and colleagues; knowing this was avoidable and only informed by the kind of information we are getting requires that the effects on our soldiers morale be managed and minimised as much as possible.

Weighed against concerted effort to deny the poor state of weaponry particularly in the first, second and third leases of the State of Emergency; weighed against the bullish posture of the former Army Chief in reaction to the protest march by the wives of these poor soldiers, who dared to voice out the plight of their spouses, some of who got killed anyway, weighed against the avoidable loss of men, material and in a particular case, an entire barrack which was attacked in Maiduguri with losses, there is indeed need to ensure the situation at hand is properly managed to leave no one in doubt that the law and justice shall not only prevail, but be seen to have taken its due and logical course. The world is watching and listening, no less the soldiers, their families and Nigerians.

Are you not surprise the manner the security funds were allegedly shared by prominent Nigerians?
Not at all. The culture of misappropriating funds meant for kitting and equipping soldiers has always been in practice way beyond the present day revelations. I dare say, those involved in the present scam were just doing business as usual and never anticipated the baton of power would change hands.

Immense are the irregularities that inform arms procurement and deployment within the Nigerian Armed Forces, particularly the Army; this is not only limited to the operations in the North East, but also to our participation in International engagements in the UN and ECOWAS, where issues like this are not new.

Take for example, recent reports in the last dispensation, to the effect that 2 Nigerian Battalions were repatriated from Sudan by the UN for under performance, linked to poor equipment holding. This negates the fact that the UN pays all participating countries for equipments they procured and used in foreign operations, under UN auspices, under the Contingent Own Equipment (COE) Agreement. How then was our equipment holding poor, when payment was made for their procurement as quoted in foreign currency!

No one learns of these occurrences because the discipline, long-suffering, resilient, nay silent nature of the Nigerian soldier is grossly abused and exploited, by greed, primitive accumulation and selfishness as practiced by those appointed to oversee military affairs…suffice it to say, the custodians of military finances in the near and distant past were also corrupt.

How are the military equipment procured?
Sincerely, no pawns intended, I don’t think anyone can answer such a question better than the former NSA and those involved in the scam. From all indication, one can see that arms procurement is ex-due-process, and probably a close-group affair… time however will reveal how arms were procured for our nation in the near past.
Do you think anything meaningful will come out of the prosecution of alleged looters of security fund?
Lest we resort to prejudice, let’s just say time and events as they unfold, will answer this particular question.

Could you that what is happening now is a confirmation of the earlier belief that some people have been cornering funds meant to combat the insurgents?
There is no gainsaying that; it was obvious right from the onset. Indicators were rife to this effect. Nigeria tends to play down most of these indicators by politicising simple and straight forward matters until they get very out of hand. We must learn to accept and mend a stitch in time, instead of waiting… as they say: “a stitch in time saves nine”.

What could one make of the huge sums of money doled out by President Jonathan, for which only a short six week orchestrated handling of the Boko Haram pre-postponed election, was seen to yield any plausible result; in retrospect, can we begin to see why it fell on the NSA (and not the service chiefs, or the Chief of Defence Staff or the Defence Minister) to convince INEC to postpone elections; could this have been a tacit face saving manoeuvre to salvage a poor outing and sore point for the then ruling party and her chances in the North East, albeit belatedly, or was it in reality another moneyed extension of Situation at hand. Would we say President Jonathan stands vindicated when he alluded Boko Haram had infiltrated his Government; what about the Late Gen. Owoeye Azazi who made similar claims, shortly before he died in a Plane crash.

The purported cease fire, agreement as sold to the country by a Defence Chief; allegations of military vehicles supplying terror camps with weapons; the quartering of terror suspects within close vicinity of the Presidency…what has the former DSS chief and NSA to say about this. Were these gimmicks to goad the release of more funds and extension of the state of emergency; would any security chief have tried this if the President had some military background? Can the present revelation of this arms deal and huge financial scam have any correlation with the trend of events that just did not add up or make sense in the last dispensation?

Could we possibly revisit those claims by the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davies and see how the puzzle begins to take form when superimposed on what we are seeing now. Can our agencies begin to concatenate these trends and subject them to some thorough intelligence and trend analysis, against the background of what is now known; certainly a pattern seems to be forming here…. the state of emergency begins to look more like an el-Dorado and naira rain, than it was anything else. Sadly, poor Nigerians paid with their blood and tears, while some smiled and made blood money!

Barring our national affliction of amnesia, which consistently beclouds our sense of immediate past occurrences; I think events as they seem to unfold hold a promising prospect of opening another window of opportunity, to solve our challenges in the North East. One can only hope the right skill sets abound within our law enforcement agencies, to make good of the going as things unfold.

The culture of misappropriating funds meant for kitting and equipping soldiers has always been in practice way beyond the present day revelations. I dare say, those involved in the present scam were just doing business as usual and never anticipated the baton of power would change hands. Immense are the irregularities that inform arms procurement and deployment within the Nigerian Armed Forces, particularly the Army; this is not only limited to the operations in the North East, but also to our participation in International engagements in the UN and ECOWAS, where issues like this are not new.

While commending the tempo and speed with which the DSS has transformed overnight, particularly in their press releases and public relations, I must here recommend meticulous and detailed intelligence analysis and an eye for the deliberately downplayed occurrences of the last two years. This would go a long way in enabling them dispense with the onerous nature of their professional calling.

Could you say that it is a result of the looting of security fund that the war against the insurgents has lingered more than expected?
That may not be unlikely; what is most likely at the moment is the entire state of emergency, while it lasted had the trappings and is indeed trending as we can see towards having been a cash and carry campaign for the security chiefs involved.



You may also like