A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has explained why the United States of America should not been seen as Nigeria’s partner in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.
Gowon, in an interview with Punch newspaper published on Sunday, 30 November, 2014, condemned the US for not selling military hardware to Nigeria to fight the Islamist militants who have been wreaking havocs across Nigeria.
The former Head of State, while taking a swipe at the United States on its refusal to sell arms to Nigeria to fight the Islamic group, stated that if the US was truly a diplomatic friend to Nigeria, it should do everything possible to keep the corporate existence of Nigeria.
The US had on November 12, 2014, defended its refusal to sell cobra helicopters to Nigeria, saying the Federal Government was free to buy fighter jets from any other country.
Gowon however, alleged that the US did same to the Nigerian government during the Civil War, when it refused to sell fighter jets to Nigeria to stop Biafra’s bomber jets.
He said, “The same thing happened during the Civil War. The Americas refused to sell arms to us. I wanted them to help me with some modest aircraft so that I could chase out Ojukwu’s (Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu) B52 or B56 as they called it. That was all I wanted; not to shoot it down but to chase it away so that it does not drop bombs and kill innocent people.
“But the Americans refused to help us and they even refused to sell arms and ammunitions and the spare parts of the equipment that we got from them. And at the same time, they (America) were shipping aircraft and loads of arms and ammunition to Zaire. What sort of friends are they?
“You call them your friends and they say that they are helping us to fight terror. We don’t want their people (Americans) to come and fight the war (against Boko Haram) for us but, at least, we need the equipment.
“During my time (as Head of State), I had to go to the Russians to get the equipment we wanted in order to prosecute that war. If they cannot help us, they should allow us to go elsewhere and get what we want to ensure that we deal with this particular problem.”
You can read details on Punch.