By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
As President Muhammadu Buhari inquires into the Boko Haram war expenditures under the last administration, it has emerged that Nigeria’s traditional allies in the West deliberately frustrated former President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts towards ending terrorists’ activities in the country.
A security source disclosed in Abuja that Nigeria, under the leadership of Jonathan, wrote 25 letters to the United States of America and other Western nations, seeking to acquire state of the art weapons to deal decisively with the terrorists.
However, they all turned down the requests, the source said.
“What was most painful was the fact that Nigeria was not begging to be given those weapons as gifts. We were ready to pay for them but they turned their backs on us when we needed them most.
“The same people who made all the promises about assisting us to bring an end to the Boko Haram attacks and bring back the abducted Chibok girls did everything they could to frustrate our efforts”, he added.
According to him, the scandal that broke out over the botched South African arms deals was the culmination of the worst that a frustrated sovereign nation could face.
Two attempts by foreign contractors engaged by the nation’s highest security authorities to buy arms from South Africa and Israel were stopped and over $24 million of Nigeria’s hard earned foreign exchange seized by South African authorities in two separate instances in that country.
It was learnt that though the funds were eventually released to Nigeria, the harm had been done and the purpose stopped mid-stream.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that when it became very clear that the nation’s long-standing traditional allies were not prepared to assist, Nigeria had to turn to Eastern Europe and Asia for weapons.
“A conclusion was reached that the nation would suffer more devastation should she continue to beg those we regarded as our friends when things were going on well with us. It was at that point that the nation had to look elsewhere, especially towards the East and Asia”, the source said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US who died in Washington, last week, Prof Adebowale Adefuye, captured the mood of the then government and most Nigerians when he addressed the American Council on Foreign Relations, in November last year.
“The US government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time,’’ “We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the US presence in Nigeria with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.
“There is no use giving us the type of support that enables us to deliver light jabs to the terrorists when what we need to give them is the killer punch. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The true test of friendship is in times of adversity,” he said.
America’s only excuse for refusing to sell the much-needed weapons to Nigeria was that Nigerian troops were reportedly not adhering to the fundamental human rights of the terrorists, in the prosecution of the Boko Haram war.
The security source who spoke with Vanguard said the alternative arms sources in Eastern Europe and Asia did not only receive Nigeria with open hands, “we also got other forms of ‘technical assistance’ as those who provided some of the equipment also entered into agreement with us to have some of their military personnel join our troops for the purposes of ensuring optimal performance of all the equipments.
“We didn’t want a situation where we would get to the war theatre and have any of the equipment breakdown without the expertise to promptly fix it”.
The source said that Some of the expatriates seen among the troops were with them to provide such requisite technical assistance. According to him, the successes recorded from the last months of Dr. Jonathan in office and the current onslaught against the terrorist were due mainly to the arrival of various equipments from countries other than Western nations that call themselves Nigeria’s traditional allies.
He observed that President Buhari’s panel would discover at the end of its sitting that it was not possible for the Jonathan administration to have reduced Boko Haram to the level it left it without having to bend backwards on several fronts to secure the right weapons and technical expertise.