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“Military Lacked the Required Equipment to Fight Insurgents” – Alex Badeh

Valentine Chinyem

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Immediate ex-defence chief of staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, while speaking during his “pulling out” ceremony from the military in Abuja, has claimed the armed forces under him lacked the required equipment to prosecute the war against terrorism.

Badeh however, said despite the challenges, laudable achievements were recorded by the military under his watch.

However, this claim is the exact opposite of his posture just six months ago; when he said it was impossible for any Nigerian soldier to claim that he was inadequately equipped, as all of them had riffles.

“The task of coordinating the military and other security agencies in the fight against the insurgents is perhaps the most complex and challenging assignment I have had in my over 38 years in service.  For the first time, I was head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an enemy that was invisible and embedded with the local populace,” he said.

“Added to this was the exploitation of a serious national security issue by a section of the press and the political class to gain political mileage.

“Furthermore, the activities of fifth columnists in the military and other security agencies who leaked operational plans and other sensitive military information to the terrorist, combined to make the fight against the insurgents particularly difficult.

“The activities of these unpatriotic members of the military not only blunted the effectiveness of the fight, but also led to the needless deaths of numerous officers and men who unwittingly fell into ambushes prepared by terrorists who had advance warnings of the approach of such troops. The decision by certain countries to deny us weapons to prosecute the war also added to the challenges we faced.

“Despite these challenges, I am glad to note that a lot was achieved during our time in the fight against terror. The achievements recorded are largely due to the commitment, patriotism and fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform who saw the fight against terror as a task that must be accomplished no matter the odds and inspite of the campaign of calumny against the military by a section of the media with their foreign collaborators.”

Back in January while speaking with the Nigerian Defence Magazine, Badeh was asked for his comments on the spate of mutiny in the country and the claims of the soldiers that lacked the equipment to fight Boko Haram, and this was part of his response:

“The Nigerian military is very well taken care off. We live in houses we don’t pay accommodation for. We have buses that bring troops to work every day and take them back home. We don’t pay for light; we don’t pay for water. Our salaries are good compared with what is paid in the civil place. If someone with school certificate joins the army, by the time he is five years in the service, his salary has doubled that of a graduate. Why do you think Nigeria is doing that for us?

“Nigeria is doing that for us because we have vowed that we will defend our nation if need be with our blood. So for a soldier to come up and say ‘I’m not well equipped’ yet you have a riffle; what do you want? You want APC, you want tanks? The basic weapon of an infantry man is riffle, so why should there be mutiny? Why should you accuse your commander of leading you into an ambush? Come on! How can your commander lead you to an ambush? If they kill my soldiers, then of what use will I be? No commander will do that deliberately.

“This is the time for Caesar, all the time has been for God, all the time we have been taking salaries, we go and do exercise saying we I do this, I will do that; I will fly like this ad fly like that. All those ones you are preparing for, the day Caesar will come and demand for his pound of flesh, and Caesar has come now and he is saying, look come and do your work, and you are saying you are not going? No, it does not work like that.”