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James Entwistle, then US ambassador to Nigeria, Tukur Buratai, Nigeria's army chief, and David Rodriguez, US Africom commander in September 2016

US security source opens up on Nigerian corruption

7 January 2020

The head of the Nigeria station of one of the United States’ major security agencies has expressed disappointment about the corruption of Nigeria’s security top brass.

Speaking to, he explained how the US had bilateral “aid” agreements with Nigeria to provide equipment to help the Nigerians deal with various security challenges, ranging from Boko Haram in the northeast to militants in the Niger Delta in the south.

The top security official said he was shocked when the heads of Nigerian security forces stated clearly at a meeting that they would prefer to receive the “aid” money direct and in cash instead of in security hardware. According to the source, “everyone in the room knew immediately” that the Nigerians wanted the funds so that they could embezzle it. It was clear that there was little interest in confronting the security crisis. Self -enrichment took priority over national security.

The US officials at the meeting reported this to their principals in Washington. In September last year, the US gave $15m worth of equipment to the Chadian military to support efforts against Boko Haram. The source suggested that this military support was diverted away from Nigeria.

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