Eeben Barlow, a mercenary and chairman of a private army, Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International, has revealed how the United States of America stopped President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the search for the Chibok girls.
Barlow, who sponsored a similar private army, Executive Outcomes, which was shut down in 1998, said Buhari could not insist on the search since the US government sponsored his election in 2015.
He said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the gains recorded against Boko Haram by the Goodluck Jonathan government went to waste after the termination of his company’s contract.
“We ended a selection process of the Nigerian soldiers, the soldiers were retained after a selection process, they were trained in a specific way to conduct a hostage rescue operation.
“The operation was in three phases; the first phase was to cut a dividing line across the North-East and isolate Boko Haram into two isolated areas and mop up. One area in the South was the start and after that then mop up in the North. The division will follow behind and occupy terrain.
“But we were never allowed to execute the entire operation. In one month, we took back terrain larger than the terrain of Belgium from Boko Haram. We were not allowed to finish because it came at a time that governments were in the process of changing.”
“President Jonathan’s government saw the entire Boko Haram contract, if we call it that, as a last-grasp to regain popularity. Buhari was heavily supported by a foreign government and one of the first missions was to terminate our contract.
“We were told it was the US and they had actually funded President Buhari’s campaign and his campaign manager from the US.
“I’m not saying the US is bad, I understand foreign interests but I’d have thought that a threat like Boko Haram on the integrity of Nigeria ought to be a priority but it wasn’t,” Barlow said.
Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.
While 57 escaped, 107 were released through negotiations. But 112 girls are still being held by the insurgents.
The Punch said the US Mission in Nigeria did not respond to its mail concerning the allegation made by Barlow.