The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, has stated that he is aware of logistics constraints among troops of the Nigerian Army which are affecting their operations nationwide.
The army chief laid out the challenge on Monday in Abuja, while addressing the principal staff officers, top commanders and General Officers Commanding at the COAS Quarterly Conference.
Attahiru’s comment is coming despite a humongous N2.6 trillion spent between 2015 and 2019 on arms and ammunition under the immediate service chiefs, including General Gabriel Olonisakin (retd) as the Chief of Defence Staff and Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.) as the Chief of Army Staff.
SaharaReporters had on March 18 reported that the immediate past service chiefs who held the military command under President Muhammadu Buhari for about six years spent more than N2.659 trillion on military arms and ammunition between 2015 and 2019, according to military records.
SaharaReporters had exposed that the N2.659 trillion is outside the controversial $1 billion Excess Crude Account Fund which was approved by Buhari in April 2018 despite public outcry.
“In 2015, the military spent N397 billion on arms; in 2016, N444 billion; in 2017, N495 billion; in N2018; N654 billion; in 2019; N669 billion,” the breakdown had shown.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Sweden-based group which documents military transactions globally, Nigeria within these years bought arms from at least 12 countries.
But speaking on Monday in Abuja, the army chief, Attahiru, said, “As you are well aware, I and my colleagues took over command of our respective services at a very critical period when the nation is facing daunting security challenges characteristic of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment.
“You will agree with me, that the retreat provides a platform to reassess the threat environment and review our operations with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations.
“I am aware of logistics constraints affecting operations across the country and I am glad to inform you that the President has pledged to continue to support the Nigerian Army. As I speak, we will soon be receiving combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations.
“Concerted effort is also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations in Lafiya Dole. Again, in order to increase our operational capabilities, I have approved the purchase of spare parts and directed that all damaged and unserviceable equipment in the theatre be back loaded for immediate repairs.”
Nigerians have called for the probe of the former service chiefs to be sure that they did not misappropriate the military funds while in office, but the President does not appear to be looking in that direction yet.