from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – CORRUPTION, inadequate numbers of soldiers and insufficient budgets have been blamed for Nigeria’s struggles to eradicate the Boko Haram.
The military is engaged in a daunting battle against the Islamist militants that have struck the West African country since 2009. Boko Haram is said to consist of between 4 000 and 20 000 militants
The NexTier Security, Peace and Development (SPD) said Nigeria has an estimated 120 000 active military personnel, in a country of over 200 million people.
“However, the security personnel is largely inadequate, considering the country size and inherent security challenges,” the Abuja-based think-tank stated.
It also lamented that Nigeria spends less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence.
This is lower than the 1,5 percent recommended by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“Even as funding inadequacies remain a big issue, corruption in the system has also worsened the situation as budgeted resources are never effectively used for its purposes,” Nextier SDP alleged.
These issues have previously been cited as affecting the morale of soldiers.
There have been reports of soldiers complaining about poor weapons, unimproved allowances and continuous losses to the terrorists.
Some 356 Nigerian soldiers voluntarily retired last week, reportedly citing loss of interest as the reason.
It is reported a majority of them were attached to the northeast where the army is fighting the Boko Haram.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Nigeria’s army chief, has been quoted as conceding that insufficient commitment by some officers was affecting operations against Boko Haram.
The terror group has killed over 30 000 civilians and displaced more than two million people during the banditry.
Scores have been kidnapped.
– CAJ News