The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to personally supervise activities of senior military officers leading the war against insurgency is primarily responsible for the poor result the country has recorded in the area of insecurity, Daily Independent exclusively gathered.
Speaking with Daily Independent, a retired senior military officer, who took active part in the war against Boko Haram insurgents in North-Eastern part of the country but chose to remain anonymous, said despite being a disciplined organisation, the Nigerian military is also susceptible to the problems associated with most public offices in the country where personnel bend rules and engage in sharp practices.
While commending President Buhari for his efforts in winning the war against insurgency, the ex-military chief said since coming on board, the president has provided funding for several military operations across the country but his failure to supervise how the funds are being utilised is responsible for some of the poor results the military is getting in winning the war.
According to him, even in rare cases where some troops complained about alleged poor feeding and better ammunitions to prosecute the war, the Federal Government refused to investigate the claims while the affected soldiers were arrested and court martialed for insubordination or mutiny.
He said, “The military is complicated. What brings about the complication within the military is largely corruption. Boko Haram insurgency just like every other crisis is seen by some people as an opportunity to make lots of money. A lot of the military commanders want to make lots of money and before you can make that kind of money you have to bend a lot of rules.
“If you have 500 soldiers on ground, you may need to probably lie and increase that number so as to get more allocation or funds. You may need to shortchange soldiers giving them far below their allowance which affects their morale. Instead of deploying a certain number of ammunitions, you may give less to the troops and that will affect the chances of winning the war.
“So, it is the complexity that you have in our society that is also present in the military. I have intelligence report that President Muhammadu Buhari approves about N10 billion to N15 billion every three months for Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East.
“That is a huge sum of money only for Operation Lafiya Dole alone yet there are other military operations in other parts of the country that requires funding too. By and large, the president releases about N100 billion to the military every quarter”.
“Somebody who makes money from that kind of system will not want the crisis to end because it becomes a cash cow. In most cases, just like it happens in every public service, if you are posted to a lucrative position, you are expected to bring some returns.
“If you are posted to head an operation for example and the president releases N15 billion to you every quarter, even without anyone telling you, it is expected that you appreciate your superior that posted you there either by cash or allowing the wife to come and supply uniforms, boots and so on. If there are compromise during the supply of the equipment, nothing will happen because you cannot query your boss’ wife”.
He added that as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, President Buhari’s job goes beyond just providing funds and equipment for the military to prosecute the war against insurgency but also to effectively monitor how the assignment is being carried out.
According to him, some of these problems could have been addressed if President Buhari can pay a surprise visit to the field of operation of these military men and see things for himself whether the funds disbursed are effectively utilised or carry out a secret investigation on activities of the military officers heading the various operations.
He, however, said President Buhari has failed to do that because once he assigns someone to do a task, he doesn’t supervise but believes that the person the task was assigned to “has the capacity to deliver”.
“These are not problems that the president can solve because he doesn’t supervise once he gives you a task. The president has given the military all the support in terms of funding but his supervision mechanism is completely lacking.
“His lack of supervision is a very big problem in winning the war and even affecting performances in other key sectors of the economy. What makes the difference between the public and private sector is basically supervision.
“I believe that if the president can supervise the operations of these commanders, we will achieve much result in winning the war. However, I think the president is limited by age, health and other factors. I remember he once said that old age will limit his performance”.