The immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), has passed a damning verdict on Nigeria’s former Heads of State and Presidents for undermining the Armed Forces for the survival of their respective governments as well as accepting recommendations from foreign countries.
The former Chief of Defence Staff made the statement while delivering a valedictory speech at a pulling out parade organised in his honour at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, on Thursday.
He said, “Permit me to also add here that the nation’s militaries are equipped and trained in peace time for the conflicts they expect to confront in the future. Unfortunately, that has not been our experience as a nation.
“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.
“Unfortunately, our past leaders accepted such recommendations without appreciating our peculiarities as a third world military, which does not have the technological advantage that could serve as force multipliers and compensate for reduced strength.
“Accordingly, when faced with the crises in the North-East and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched and had to embark on emergency recruitment and trainings, which were not adequate to prepare troops for the kind of situation we found ourselves in.”
He also said some previous leaders took deliberate decisions to weaken the military just for the survival of their regimes.
Bedeh said that some of the regimes acceded to the demands of foreign countries to reduce the size of the military and deprived the nation’s defence forces of the requisite funding and size.
He lamented that such leaders accepted the advice of such foreign countries without considering the nation’s peculiar characteristics as a third world country which lacked the advantages of modern technology to compensate for the costly reduction in size and strength.
Bade said that the military was overstretched to such a point that it had to resort to emergency recruitment and trainings to fight the insurgents, which he said was inadequate in the face of the level of security challenge facing the country at the time.
The former defence chief said that it was high time the Federal Government embarked on a comprehensive review of the nation’s military structure with respect to its size, capacity and the equipment that should be at its disposal to carry out its responsibility of defending the country.