African press review 5 December 2015

War trauma in Nigeria as soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency reveal what it's like living with death in Boko Haram's minefields.  And Nigeria's anti-graft agency opens probe into multi-billion naira arms purchase scandal involving the government of Ukraine and a local business tycoon.


We start with Punch which leads with breaking news about the launch of an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into an alleged arms deal worth 200 million dollars involving a Nigerian businessman and the government of Ukraine.

Investigations on Friday revealed that the money had been paid to the Ukrainian authorities for the airlifting of arms to Nigeria.

Punch quotes a top operative of the anti-graft agency as saying on Friday that the businessman whose identity was not disclosed, was picked up last week and placed under custody.

According to the newspaper, the suspect has admitted reaching an understanding with the Ukrainian authorities, to put the deal on hold, because he was being owed some money by the past administration in Nigeria.

Punch reports that the businessman told investigators that the arms transaction ran into trouble when a top military figure (now retired) came onto the scene.

The businessman is among the 22 high profile personalities being interrogated by a 27-man Task Force set up by the EFCC’s new Chief Ibrahim Magus, to look into the $ 2.1 billion dollars arms procurement approved under President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Nation brings a new perspective to the arms purchase scandal recalling that the contract was awarded by the Office of the late National Security Adviser General Andrew Owoye Azazi.

According to the paper, several arms dealers, a military chief and some other officials who served under Azazi have already testified before the EFCC on the matter. The arms dealers shortlisted by the disbanded Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety are suspected of inflating contracts for the supply of 20 units of patrol boats to the Nigerian Army

Vanguard published the findings of an investigative assignment it carried out to measure the morale of soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria.
According to Saturday's Vanguard, some spoke about serious hardship following the inability of the Federal Government to provide them with minesweepers.

The paper reports that specialized units have had to resort to the use of hand-held mine detectors, which has slowed down their progress against the insurgents who planted mines along major roads and bush paths to impede troops’ movements.

Other soldiers who also spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity said that the troops lacked helicopter guns needed to fight in deserts. This, while others who have spent two years on the frontline said they were “suffering from war trauma” having not seen their families for a long period.

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