Nigeria Military’s Distressed, Says Group

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•’Handling of Shiites, IPOB alienating citizenry’
•Says 120,000 personnel inadequate for the country

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that the Nigerian military as it stands today is overstretched and riddled with many crises that are limiting its capacity to handle the emerging security challenges across the country.

The ICG noted in its latest report on Africa published on its website on Tuesday titled: “Nigeria: The Challenge of Military Reform”, that while President Buhari has taken some steps to reverse the decline and has recorded significant gains against Boko Haram, ongoing prosecution of former chiefs for graft have further deepened the military’s reputation as poorly governed and corrupt.

The group said that government and military chiefs, working with the National Assembly, civil society and international partners, need to do much more: implement comprehensive defence sector reform, including clear identification of security challenges; a new defence and security policy and structure to address them; and drastic improvement in leadership, oversight, administration and accountability across the sector.

Summarising the prevailing security situation in the country, ICG traced the decline to the 33 years of military dictatorship that took a serious toll on professionalism, operational effectiveness and accountability.

On return to democratic rule, the report stated, presidents, defence ministry and parliament lacked the commitment and expertise to implement significant changes.

“They left the military badly governed, under-resourced and virtually adrift. Administration and accountability deteriorated throughout the sector. Poor – indeed, lacking – senior leadership has been compounded by equally poor legislative oversight and defence coordination.

“Until recently, the military was under-resourced, with comparatively low budgets, disbursed irregularly and unpredictably. From 2000 to 2008, its budget was less than 3 per cent of overall government expenditure. From 2009 to 2014, it increased to an average of 7.2 per cent of government spending ($5-$6 billion); but, as in the past, this was still allocated disproportionately to recurrent expenditures, leaving very little for crucial capital investment,” the report noted.

Further details later