The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday said the Nigerian military lacks what it takes to win the war against insurgency in the country.
Ndume, who spoke while featuring on a Channels Television programme monitored by newsmen, said while the military has the right ideas needed to win the war, they lack the needed modern equipment to prosecute the battle.
The Federal Government had in October said it has taken delivery of the final batch of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets expected from the United States.
According to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed “All the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets have been received. As of this morning, all the 12 were here and they have been deployed to the North-East. We can see that the Tucano jets are actually game-changers.
“Most of the successes we have recorded in recent time is because of the acquisition of the new platforms, not limited to the super Tucano,” he said.
However, Ndume said as the Chairman of the Committee that has oversight functions over the army, the military still lacks the right equipment and are just managing what they have.
“The military needs to be given the wherewithal to finish this business of insurgency. The army have all the ideas to win this war. What they lack is equipment and a new platform, especially a modern one. Let me tell you, I oversight them. I see what is on the ground. The Nigerian Army needs the equipment. They don’t have the equipment.
“They don’t have what it takes to win this war. They are just managing with what they have and unfortunately, these are not items that you buy off the shelf. Also, we are being faced with a lot of frustrations here and there from the manufacturing companies who have all these modern weapons. So, there is a lot that needs to be done and I wish they can be done quickly.
“Because security and welfare of the citizens is the purpose of government. I have been saying that severally, the government really needs to do more.”
Speaking further, Ndume also lamented the number of security personnel in the country saying that with over 200 million population, all the personnel of security agencies in Nigeria combined are not up to one million.
According to him, most of the job of security are supposed to be done by the police but they are overwhelmed as the entire police force is not up to 400,000.
“As it is now, some of these challenges are not actually the business of the Nigerian Army but that of the police. But it is the same with police. In a population of 100 million people, you have less than 400,000 policemen and less than 200,000 in the Nigerian Army.
“In the whole of the security agencies, we don’t have up to one million personnel when you put immigration, customs, DSS and other paramilitary agencies together. But when you go to Egypt that are less than 100 million, they have more than one million police. That is the problem. If there is not enough number to police a country as big as Nigeria, then we are bound to have these kinds of problems.”
The lawmaker also blamed the federal government for not acting fast by nipping insurgency in the bud when it first started. According to him, the government then played politics with the issue until it got out of hand.
“These are not people that are illiterates because if you have Islamic education, we cannot say you are illiterate and some of them they have crammed the Qur’an. But they acquire unacceptable ideology that they follow.
“But most importantly, when a small group in Yobe started as the Taliban then, the government did not actually nip it in the bud at that time. instead, there was politics in it. They tried to play it down, attaching religion to it. It was only when it got out of hand that the Nigerian government decide to do something about it.
“Even then, when they were to come in to address the challenges, the Nigerian Army was caught unawares. They were not ready. They didn’t have the equipment, they didn’t have the number.”
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