A director and spokesperson of Conella Services, a South African private military company has said it was the Goodluck Jonathan administration and not the Muhammadu Buhari administration that terminated its services of assisting the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram.
The spokesman of the company who for confidentiality purposes had his face blurred and his name not given, spoke exclusively to ARISE News said his organisation reached an agreement with a delegation of the Nigerian government led by Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser, to do everything humanly possible in ending the insurgency in the northeast.
“We were contracted by the National Security Adviser, Colonel Dasuki, and his office in late October 2014 and it was that administration and that office that terminated the contract. It was not the current administration,” Conella spokesman told ARISE News.
He added further that: “By the time the current administration took power, we were long gone, unfortunately, and the main reason for the termination was nonpayment. We had milestones written to the contract for payment, those milestones were unfortunately not met by the Nigerian government.
“Perhaps priorities changed, perhaps, with a view to the election around the corner, people thought differently about where to spend their money.
“We can only speculate about that, but that was the reason, it was non-payment, it was not non-performance by our side. As a matter of fact, we achieved almost the impossible within a month of our operations for the first time in three years, two major cities that were in the hands of Boko haram Bama and Gwazo were back in the hands of security forces and at the end of our contract the sambisa was being assaulted by our unit.”
According to the spokesman, the contract signed with the Nigerian government entailed the South African mercenaries training troops as well as fight the insurgents.
“We were not going to fight the battle by ourselves, we were going to merge with the best that Nigeria had and therefore Nigeria gave us the best young men. The able unit of the Nigerian military was presented to us, we selected the best of those candidates, almost all of those boys and we merged in a very tough training program.
“So you had experience, leadership presented by ourselves and you had muscle, power and aggression and fantastic fighting ability brought to the party by the Nigerian men.
“That unit was called 72 Mobile Strike Force. 72 was the designation that meant that we fought under the command and control of 7 division, which was based in Maiduguri, and 72 Mobile Strike Force as a unit was created based on that contract.”
By Abel Ejikeme