THE Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, Rimande Shawulu, has said there was urgent need for the Federal Government to recruit more soldiers to combat insurgents in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Shawulu, in a chat with our reporter, yesterday, said: “We do not have enough soldiers to police most communities in the red areas of the north east.
“As it is today, the situation is not encouraging as we need to recruit and train more soldiers in the conventional and unconventional warfare particularly insurgency.” On what further fuelled insurgency, he said the propaganda campaign mounted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, using alleged human rights violation gave impetus to Boko Haram during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Shawulu stated that chieftains of the then opposition party used their international contacts to peddle propaganda that prevented the PDP government from accessing military hardware in the international market. The assertion followed a question that bordered on the effectiveness of efforts by the nation’s military, especially the Army, to bring the Boko Haram and other security challenges to a quick end. “If you look at the crisis that we had over Boko Haram insurgency, it was a well known fact that even the former chief of defence staff, Gen Alex Badeh when he was being pulled out said the government wanted them to fight Boko Haram with bare hands.
“Why am I saying this? Over the years, equipping of the military hasn’t been done by the Nigerian state. And you know that arms are not purchased off the shelf like you buy cars and the rest of them, you place orders. Which was why when the issue of Boko Haram became a serious challenge, and let me say something that the public may not be aware of, the former government had to improvise by going through the black market to buy arms.
“And do you how you get arms from the black market, there are arms that some people had already bought and kept for use. It may also interest you to know that when the quest to get arms became difficult to actualise, the former military chiefs went with cheques in their hands to the US but due to APC campaign and propaganda, America refused to sell, saying that the military was violating the rights of Boko Haram people.