We Were Ill-equipped, Demotivated–Badeh

The immediate past chief of defence staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, yesterday disclosed that the military under his watch was ill-equipped and lacked motivation to tame Boko Haram.
The former CDS made this disclosure in Abuja at the pulling out ceremony organised in his honour as he bade farewell to the military after 38 years of service.

At the height of the insurgency, Boko Haram attacked his hometown and his house while he was the nation’s defence chief.
Badeh also used the occasion to accuse a section of the media, the political class and some foreign interests of working against the military.

He said: “Notwithstanding the modest successes we recorded in the fight against terror, I must say that the task of coordinating the military and other security agencies in the fight against insurgents is perhaps the most complex and challenging assignment I have had in 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 in the local populace.
“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 sensitive military information, leaked to the terrorists, 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.”
Speaking further, Badeh said despite the challenges the military faced under his watch, it recorded achievements under his watch.
“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 the fighting spirit of the gallant officers of men and women in uniform who saw the fight against terror as a task that must be accomplished, no matter the odds and in spite of the campaign of calumny against the military by a section of the media with their foreign collaborators.”
Former CDS also acknowledged the support received from the populace.

“Our true friends who stood by us in our time of need and provided us the weapons we are now using to conduct the operations will always have a special place in our hearts.
“I must also mention the support and co-operation we have continued to enjoy from our neighbouring countries, which have enabled us to present a united front against a common enemy,” he said.
“The great support we have continued to receive and the determination of our patriotic troops to defeat this enemy of our nation have helped us to remain focused, but to also embark on other projects for the armed forces.”
He reminded his audience that no nation could achieve its full security potential by totally depending on other nations for its needs, noting that the lessons of the civil war and the ongoing war against terror, where certain countries frustrated the attempts to procure much need weapons, are very instructive.

“I appeal to the relevant agencies of the government to mobilise the huge human and material resources we have in this country towards the development of a vibrant Defence Industrial Complex that would contribute to meeting our critical arms and equipment needs. This is crucial if we must reduce our total dependence on foreign sources of supply for critically needed arms.

“It is important for the government to decide the kind of military force it needs, by carrying out a comprehensive review of the nation’s military structure to determine the size, capability and equipment holding required to effectively defend the nation and provide needed security,” Badeh noted.

The outgone defence chief pointed out that the huge cost that would be required to rebuild the Boko Haram-devastated North East and other trouble spots in the country would have been saved had the military been adequately funded over the years by previous administrations.

He noted that, over the years, the military was neglected and under-equipped to ensure the survival of certain regimes, while other regimes, based on advice from some foreign nations, deliberately reduced the size of the military and underfunded it.
Badeh expressed regret that past leaders accepted unpatriotic recommendations without appreciating the peculiarities of a third world military, which did not have the technological advantage that could serve as force multipliers and compensate for reduced strength.

He disclosed further that when faced with the crisis in the North East and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched, and had to embark on emergency recruitment and training.

It will be recalled that Borno State governor Kashim Shettima had raised the alarm  that Nigerian military was ill-equipped and lacked motivation to confront the Boko Haram terrorists.

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