Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, says the weapons purchased by former President Goodluck Jonathan to fight Boko Haram, were substandard. Lai Mohammed said this in a statement he released yesterday February 1st. He was reacting to a statement made by former Jonathan in Geneva, Switzerland last week that the success so far recorded by this administration in the fight against Boko Haram was as a result of the arms and ammunition his administration bought before leaving office.
The statement by Lai Mohammed reads in part
“The weapons, ammunition and equipment, which the former President said he bought, were refurbished and lacked the basic components and spare parts. Additionally, the ammunition bought for both high calibre and small weapons have mostly expired, incompatible with weapons and grossly inadequate. It is pertinent to state that the ammunition he was referring to were back-loaded because they explode within the barrel when fired, thus leading to deaths and injuries among soldiers. The situation was so pathetic that soldiers were often transported in civilian JTF vehicles, civilian vehicles, trailers and water tankers when going to the theatres of operation. The revelations on the sorry state of things in the past, which have emanated from the investigative panel so far, point clearly to the kind of legacy bequeathed to this administration by the past government. That explains why troops remained largely static and were unable to effectively deploy to completely rout the Boko Haram terrorists in all their known enclaves. The high level of casualties sustained by our gallant soldiers was most unprecedented and cannot be compared to any known military operations in recent times, all because of the terrible state of affairs suffered by the military under the Jonathan administration. It is also clear, as has been shown so far by the outcome of the panel probing past arms deals, that the purchase of substandard weapons apparently resulted from the massive corruption that enveloped the deals, the kind of horrifying graft that saw the purchase of refurbished choppers that lacked rotors, or fighter jets that could not be deployed in the theatre of war because they were not up to par. The needless loss of lives of many of our gallant troops, resulting from the lack of standard weaponry and low morale in the past, is not a matter to be trivialised under any circumstance.