The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), an NGO, on Saturday said that the fight against Boko Haram was strongly undermined by corruption in the Defence sector.
Malam Auwal Musa, Executive Director of CISLAC, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
“Failure to get this right, will see funds and weapons diverted into the hands of terrorists and the fight against Boko Haram will never be won.”
Musa in reaction to a recent ranking of Nigeria among “E’’ countries by Transparency International, said the country’s defence institutions had done little in the defence sector.
He questioned the effectiveness of the legislature whose duty according to him, was to oversee activities in the sector.
“The findings showed that parliamentarians fail to exercise their oversight of defence and security policy’; defence budgets lack transparency in spite of accounting for 20 per cent of the national budget.
“Soldiers are not supplied the necessary equipment to adequately fight Boko Haram as military hardware procurement is not scrutinized on grounds of national security,’’ he said.
According to him, this has undermined efforts to combat the growing threat of Boko Haram.
He noted that positive steps had been taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to address corruption in the country.
He said it was due to the efforts by the president that the arrests of former defence officials were carried out by the Federal Government.
NAN recalls that Katherine Dixon, Director of Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme, in a report noted that the defence corruption problems Nigeria faces today are systemic.
It noted that gaping holes in military budgets, lack of oversight and transparency, contributed to a rise in support of extremism, and disabling of the fight against insurgents.
“President Buhari has made some positive efforts, but arrests of former officials aren’t enough on their own.
“Failure to get this right will see funds and weapons diverted into the hands of terrorists and the fight against Boko Haram will never be won,’’ the report noted.
The report further said Nigeria’s ranking comes amidst a context of similar results across Africa.
The Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index looked at 47 African nations and found the majority facing very high to critical risk of defence corruption.
“Defence spending across the continent has increased by 91 per cent across the continent yet African defence institutions have not caught up with the spending and remain largely exempt from proper legislative scrutiny.
“In the majority of countries, corruption is undermining public trust in the government and the armed forces, pushing citizens into the arms of organised crime and terrorist groups,’’ it stated.
The report urged Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Chad and other countries in the Sahel to address corruption risks to restore stability in the region.