The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has said he would deal with any military commanders under whose watch Nigerian soldiers face casualties and loss of equipment.
He, however, said he would first provide adequate “equipment”, “welfare” and “training” for the military in its fight against Boko Haram.
Mr Abubakar said it would be unacceptable that military commanders would be provided enough resources and they would be derelict at their jobs.
“If I give you arms and then you are overrun by insurgents, I will deal with you,” the former vice president said.
“Why we are having setbacks is because there are no consequences for nonperformance in the fight against corruption. I can only assume that lack of equipment in the fighting troops is one of the problems so we will make sure that adequate equipment is made available but we can not contain this challenge if the military keeps loosing weapons in the hands of insurgents.”
Nigerian military chiefs have faced criticism for their failure to curb incessant attacks by Boko Haram insurgents. Hundreds of troops have been killed over the past six months, and a great deal of equipment carted away by the ruthless terrorists.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been equally criticised for not disciplining the military commanders despite their alleged complacency.
The president, however, said he has no reason to fire the commanders, whom he had used since assuming office in 2015, because he was satisfied with their performance. The tenures of the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai and the Chief of Defence Staff Gabriel Olonisakin were extended by Mr Buhari when they should have retire since 2017.
Mr Abubakar spoke while appearing on ‘The Candidates’ hosted by journalist Kadaria Ahmed on NTA.
The Boko Haram insurgency has caused tens of thousands of deaths since 2009.
Mr Abubakar also criticised the involvement of the military in clashes with Shiites that led to the murder of hundres of civilians.
He said the military has no business in the handling of a Shiite protest in 2015.
“If they (Shiite) misbehave, let the police deal with them. What the military should have done is to invite the police to handle them,” he said.
At least 347 members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria were killed when soldiers attacked them for blocking a road being used by the army chief, Tukur Buratai.
The Shiite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has been in detention since then.
Dozens of Shiites have been killed since the 2015 incident during protests demanding the release of Mr El-Zakzaky.