Amid allegations of negligence against President Muhammadu Buhari in the latest killing of soldiers at Matele village in Borno State by a South African firm, Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), the Defence Headquarters yesterday sought support for the troops battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East
On the Facebook page of the STTEP chairman, Eeben Barlow, he had claimed that Nigerian soldiers were begging him for help since his company’s services were terminated by the Buhari administration.
The South African has kept maintaining that the president ignored intelligence on the potency of the sect prior to the attack that claimed over 100 soldiers.
This comes even as some troops accused top commanders of leading them to death with obsolete weapons in contrast to the sophisticated weaponry of their enemy.
The claims of fund diversion and old-fashioned equipment were contained in a video that went viral on Friday, November 23.
But responding to the incident, the Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General John Agim, told The Guardian that “we should avoid joking with our security problems. If we do not change the narrative and encourage our troops to face our security challenges with boldness, then we should be ready for the worst.”
He added that “the Matele incident also killed the commander, so what corruption are we talking about? The commanders’ lives are in danger like any other soldier deployed in the Operation Theatre.”
On the South African mercenary firm’s allegations, the spokesman said: “I do not know what Intel they gave the FG. I cannot commit on what I don’t have full information.”
Calls and messages to the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Texas Chukwu, to get his comments were not returned at press time.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the National Assembly to probe the assault.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, it accused the presidency of condoning extra-judicial killings nationwide.
Also yesterday, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State condoled with the Nigerian Army over the loss.
He registered his condolences when the Course 41 students of the Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State paid him a courtesy visit in Katsina. They were led by Brigadier-General O.R. Ayeniba.