Boko Haram better equipped than army: Former VP

Abubakar, who served as vice president between 1999 and 2007, said Nigeria had the chance of nipping the insurgency in the bud at its infancy

Boko Haram better equipped than army: Former VP

The Boko Haram insurgents are more equipped and better motivated than the military, presidential hopeful Atiku Abubakar has said.

"The army is not catered for, (they are) not properly equipped. I see their plight myself because I am from the region," Abubakar, a former vice president, told an interactive meeting with youths drawn from across Nigeria and attended by Anadolu Agency reporter.

"The insurgents are more equipped and better motivated," he said.

"You are having just 40 rounds of ammunition for our military while the enemy has thousands of rounds to fight," added Abubakar, one of the top guns of the Nigerian opposition.

"Once the soldier exhausts his few rounds he needs to run because he faces a better equipped enemy," he said. "The military is not well motivated and there is the failure of good intelligence gathering."

Boko Haram militants have in recent weeks overrun several towns across Nigeria's restive northeastern region.

Outlawed in Nigeria, Turkey and the U.S., Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths and scores of violent attacks since becoming violent in 2009.

Failure

Abubakar, who served as Nigeria's vice president between 1999 and 2007, said the country had the chance of nipping the insurgency in the bud at its infancy when it crushed similar uprising in Yobe - incidentally one of the northern states currently ravaged by Boko Haram militants.

"We had similar situation when we were in office in Yobe and we crushed it within three months," he recalled.

"But we made a mistake of not going back to the people and asking them why they did what they did. So we lost the opportunity to address the issues," he added.

The former vice president, however, rejected suggestions that poverty and illiteracy - believed to be most prevalent in the insurgency-wracked northeast - are the main drivers of the violence.

He told his guests that he will declare his interest in the presidential race on Wednesday.

Abubakar brushed aside suggestions that his repeated presidential runs were driven by "naked ambitions" - a reference to his failed bid in 2007 and 2011.

His ambition to govern Nigeria suffered setbacks that many analysts blamed on official conspiracy after falling out with his former boss Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president.

"There is so much fixing to be done in Nigeria," Abubakar told the gathering of mainly youths and entrepreneurs, many of whom command thousands of Twitter followers.

"I owe Nigeria a payback," he said.

"I was freely educated from primary to university and it is the greatest thing this country has done for me. So I'm driven by passion to do more, and not by naked ambition," insisted the presidential hopeful.

He pledged to prioritize human capital development, agriculture and youths empowerment if elected president in the 2015 poll.

Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who has not officially declared an intent to run for reelections, appears certain to get the ticket of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP).

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Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2014, 12:49
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