By Rafiu Ajakaye
At least $15 billion meant for purchasing military hardware have been diverted through a fraudulent and obscure arms procurement process between 2011 and 2015 in Nigeria, a report said on Thursday, calling for reforms.
“With oil prices at a record low, defence has provided new and lucrative opportunities for the country’s corrupt kleptocrats,” said the report authored by Transparency International Defence and Security and a local non-profit group Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC).
“Former military chiefs have stolen as much as $15 billion – a sum equivalent to half of Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves – through fraudulent arms procurement deals,” it added.
The report said corruption in the defense sector poses grave danger to the country's internal security and counterterrorism efforts while strengthening Boko Haram militants ravaging its northeast region.
It hailed the Muhammadu Buhari administration for launching a rare probe into military expenditure, especially under former President Goodluck Jonathan whose security adviser Sambo Dasuki is now standing trial for allegedly diverting $2.1 billion of funds meant for the fight against Boko Haram.