|senior army officers|
PRESIDENT-elect General Muhammadu Buhari plans to clampdown on corruption within the Nigerian armed forces upon assuming office on May 29 with a mass retirement of senior officers who are believed to have corruptly enriched themselves and been unprofessional.
Over the last five years, terrorist group Boko Haram has had a field day in Nigeria due to the rampant corruption within the military and the unprofessionalism within its officer corp. Despite the fact that Nigeria spends 20% of her annual budget on security, the army was found to be lacking in basic equipment, soldiers were ill-fed and morale was at an all-rime low.
So bad was morale that whole battalions regularly fled in the wake of Boko Haram attacks, abandoning their weapons and equipment, which the terrorists seized and used to mount further attacks. Several officers were also believed to be in cahoots with the terrorists, supplying them with intelligence and equipment.
Given the scale of the rot, one of the major priorities of the president-elect is a major shake-up in the military hierarchy upon assuming office. It is believed that a committee has already been put together to work out the modalities for the shake-up as well as look for potential replacements for the officers that would be affected by the cull.
Those to be affected by the clear out will include officers who allegedly mismanaged funds meant for military operations, those who assisted crude oil thieves in successfully executing their illicit business as well as those who engaged in political activities in breach of their professional duties. It is not yet certain how many officers will be affected by the purge yet as the committee needs to find out how many have been greedy and unprofessional.
“The military has been politicised and bastardised over the last few years and corruption has reached unprecedented levels with the oil theft in the Niger Delta and haphazard anti-terror war. Nobody can say sincerely that the leadership of the military has lived up to expectations.
We need a professional military as we cannot be relying on neighbouring countries to be bailing us out of our internal issues. Buhari will transform the military to an institution of pride for all Nigerians again,” a source close to the programme said.
He listed some of the allegations that propelled the planned changes to include reports of diverted funds for military operation to personal use. He added that instead of paying soldiers fighting Boko Haram the agreed N30,000 monthly allowance, officers were only paying them N15,000 each and keeping the balance.
In addition, the source said the troops were allegedly given only three sachets of pure water per day and lacked sleeping kits. He added that the troops' food supplies for the day were allegedly brought in the morning, a situation that saw them eating cold lunch and sour dinner.
Last year, it was also reported that army top officers shared part land meant for a military barracks in the Asokoro District of Abuja. It is believed that the 439 beneficiaries of the land comprised spouses, relations, friends, associates and companies owned by senior military officers.