Millions given to Nigeria by the British government as foreign aid to prosecute the war against Boko Haram is said to have been diverted by the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to fight political opponents of the government.
This is according to a Tuesday publication by the UK Telegraph defense editor, Con Coughlin.
Britain and the USA are said to have given to Nigeria, hundreds of millions in aid, but those monies are yet to be accounted for by the Buhari administration.
Coughlin writes that: “Hundreds of millions of pounds of British foreign aid given to Nigeria to help combat Boko Haram terrorists is instead being used to fund a witch-hunt against opposition politicians, it is being claimed.”
“Britain has committed to spending £860 million in foreign aid to Nigeria, which now boasts Africa’s largest economy, to help support the country’s efforts to crush Boko Haram terror group, which has been responsible for a spate of outrages, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.”
“But Western officials are now raising concerns that the government of the country’s recently elected leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, is misusing the funds to persecute political opponents.”
“Since Mr Buhari came to power last July, a number of prominent members of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been arrested and imprisoned without charge. Among those detained was the party’s official spokesperson.”
“Most of the arrests have been sanctioned by the government-controlled Economic and Financial Crime Commission, which was set up to tackle corruption and receives funding from the Department for International Development.”
“But while Mr Buhari’s government continues to use British aid money to target his political opponents, it is proving less effective at tackling the Islamist-run Boko Haram terrorist group.”
“Much of the aid Britain provides to Nigeria is aimed at helping the country’s security forces to become more effective at tackling Boko Haram, which boasts of its links with Islamic State (Isil) and achieved international notoriety two years ago after kidnapping 276 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria two years ago.”
“Scores of British military personnel – including members of the Special Forces – are based in Nigeria helping to train the military to tackle Boko Haram. But despite Mr Buhari’s pledge during last year’s general election campaign that he would make tackling Boko Haram one of his top priorities, there is growing concern among Western officials that the Nigerian military is failing to take effective action against the terrorists.”
The paper further stated that the British government is increasingly worried over President Buhari’s style of governance and his inability to stop Boko Haram terror attacks.
“Western officials have expressed concern about Mr Buhari’s increasingly autocratic style of government since he came to power last year. A retired major-general, Mr Buhari, 73, previously headed a brutal military dictatorship following a coup in December 1983, which lasted until he was overthrown by another coup in 1985.”
“Now political opponents claim he is returning to his old dictatorial ways, abusing British aid meant to improve Nigeria’s ability to tackle Boko Haram to consolidate his hold on power.”
“Part from the concerns over British aid, American officials are also angry that $2.1 billion of aid given to the Nigerian military to tackle Boko Haram has not been properly accounted for.”
“Mr Buhari’s claim that he is winning the war against Boko Haram – recently claimed the group no longer poses a serious threat – has been undermined by recent revelations the Nigerian authorities have tried to cover up the fact that hundreds more schoolchildren have been abducted by Boko Haram.”
“Human rights activists have no confirmed that around 400 women and children were abducted last year by militants from the Nigerian town of Damasak.”
“It is now believed that some of these children may have been trained as suicide bombers. U.S. counter-terrorism experts say at least 105 women and girls trained by Boko Haram have taken part in suicide attacks since June 2014.”