A soldier has granted an exclusive interview to a foreign media channel again lamenting the grade of weapons they are given to fight the insurgency group Boko Haram.
He talked to Nkem Ifejika, BBC, about fighting in the north east. His name and location have been withheld.
Here is a transcript of the interview. It starts off with the soldier talking about the battle.
Soldier: Yes, we fight them, we contact with them about 9 times. They attacked my HQ and dislodged us on the first attack.
Question: When BH dislodged you what where did you go ?
Soldier: We come back, we reinforce, we go back again. There is need for reinforcement then, but we are given 20 men as reinforcements.
Question: Was 20 men enough for reinforcement?
Soldier: Yes, but they all go for dismissal and refuse to come.
Question: The soldiers who are sent as reinforcement refused to come!?
Soldier: Yes! they refused to come because they don’t have weapons.
Q: Did Any of your fellow soldiers die in the battle while you where out there?
Soldier: Many, many, many have never come back, we soldiers request for weapons, and many things but they refuse. We don’t know where the problem is but they refuse. We feel it, many women now in my barrack are widows, they are suffering.
Q: What kind of weapons do Boko Haram have?
Soldier: They are using AA (anti-aircraft), and they are using RPG’s and many types of support weapons, we have only Kalashnikovs, and the tanks we are using all are from 1976.
Q: So the weapons where very very old?
Soldier: Yes, they are very very old.
Q: The Boko Haram fighters, where there plenty of them ?
Soldier: Yes, they are plenty. We attack them with 116 soldiers, whereby they are about 3,000 at that day. You see the problem.
Q: 3,000 is a lot of people!
Soldier: Yes, we think the enemy’s strength is their number of 10,000. How can you fight?
Q: What is your own strength?
Soldier: My strength is never above 400 or 500 that we went there, and any attack they launch, they must kill us, because we don’t have support weapon.
Q: Did you feel at the time, that you could defeat Boko Haram?
Soldier: Yes, I believe, am a soldier, I can do better. I said we believe we could defeat them at any time, but logistics failed, weapons failed, soldiers’ morale fell, and everything went wrong. That’s what happened to us at that time.
Q: How about your senior officer are they also angry at the situation?
Soldier: Well I can’t say so because those that have died, they don’t care about them, if you die today, they will stop the salary tomorrow. So that means the senior men don’t care for we soldiers, they care only about themselves.
I like Nigeria, it’s my country, I have never been to another country and don’t want to, I believe if they bring good weapons and motivate soldiers, we will go and fight.
Q: If they sent you back you will go and fight?
Yes, I said it, if they bring us weapons we will go and fight with support, we soldiers we believe we can do more than they have done to us.
Q: Do you agree that we can defeat Boko Haram in six weeks?
Soldier: Kai, me I will never believe, because things are wrong, that’s the truth.
Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram since 2009, the insurgency group has killed over 15,000 people through terror attacks.