The former military president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd) has thrown his weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption.
General Babangida, who spoke in an interview with newsmen yesterday, August 16, to mark his 74th birthday said President Buhari has the capacity to recover Nigeria’s stolen funds, Leadership reports.
He said: “My boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo created a similar strategy and, to be fair to him and his government, he made a lot of recoveries when he was in office; so we should support this present federal government in what is trying to do, to achieve the same objective.
“If he is resolute, I believe he will achieve some degree of stolen funds.
“You talk about oil theft, I am sure President Buhari is resolute to stamp out all those and to bring to book all those who have tampered especially in stealing our oil.”
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Babaginda also exonerated President Buhari from blame on the waves of attacks by Boko Haram since he assumed office. He said that the war against the insurgents was difficult because it was not a conventional war where the military could test their full strength.
He said: “I think there is a general misunderstanding of the whole concept of insurgency; you can call it anything – instability, guerilla war, terrorism. We are not fighting a regular army where you can confront them with sheer use of force and weapons to overwhelm the enemy; no, we have gotten a small trained army whose tactics is to inflict maximum casualty on its so-called enemy, inflict casualty on him when and where he least expects it.
“The army is not fighting a conventional war; that makes it exceptionally difficult. They (Boko Haram militants) blow our bridges; they go as far as blowing up barracks and so on; this is an unconventional war. I think the soldiers are trained for it and they know this is the sort of thing they do. I think the public should be educated about this unconventional war.”
Babanginda also supported the move by President Buhari to negotiate with Boko Haram.
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He said: “Unfortunately the president got it right. He said he will talk to people who are credible, who have been identified as some of the leaders of the insurgency but, so far, apart from one or two names, we do not hear any other name. I don’t think the government will like to talk to a vacuum, to talk to people who are not worth talking to, as far as these issues are concerned. So the government is right in being careful to identify and talk if there is anything to talk about.”
According to Babangida, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s failure in the last election was a hallmark of democracy.
He said that the people were determined to vote the PDP out and they did it peacefully.
Meanwhile, Babanginda has recounted the bloody Orkar coup and the Nigerian civil war as incidents in his life that he is grateful to God for.