Lagos lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has expressed fear that the $1bn loan the Federal Government requested the National Assembly to approve so that it can purchase military hardware to effectively tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, may be diverted for the 2015 elections.
He said this at the weekend during a national symposium to commemorate the first memorial anniversary of late Pro-National Conference co-founder, Baba Omojola.
Falana said the nation’s military had been incapacitated by massive corruption and internal fraud within the system that saw trillions of naira meant for procurement of arms looted for lack of accountability.
He said, “The money that has been voted for defence of our dear country in the last five years is N4tn. This year alone, it is N968bn. The president has come back for a loan of $1bn which is about N177bn added to N968bn in one year. That is over a trillion naira. At the end of the day, our soldiers are being sent to the war front having no weapon to fight.
“As of yesterday, the $1bn has not been processed, so if we are not careful the money is going to be diverted to fund the forthcoming general elections”.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is the defence lawyer of some of the soldiers standing trial for acts of mutiny, said his interaction with the officers showed they were too ill equipped to face the superior firepower of the insurgents.
According to Falana, the Nigeria military, as presently constituted, could not liberate the country from the grip of the terrorists.
“As for the boys they accused of mutiny, when I spoke with them, they said, ‘oga, we are not guilty of mutiny. We want to fight and die for this country, but there is no equipment. They are asking us to face the Boko Haram sect that has sophisticated weapons. We are simply being asked to commit suicide and that is why we say we have the right to life. We don’t want to die cheaply’,” he added.
In his contribution to discussions at the forum, an activist, Dr Amos Akingba, noted that people kept asking the national question because Nigeria was not working.
Akingba blamed ethnicity and tribalism as the major destabilizing factor and called on Nigerians to come together to save the country.
The event was chaired by the Chairman of the National Democratic Coalition, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd).