Playing golf is a form of training that can help the armed forces tackle insecurity in Nigeria fueled by Boko Haram, the highest-ranking military officer of the African country’s army argued over the weekend.
Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the chief of the Army Staff, encouraged Nigerian troops to spend more time at the golf course. Currently, the Nigerian military is struggling to defeat Boko Haram and its Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) offshoot.
The general’s remarks came as Boko Haram killed up to 70 people who attended at a funeral on Saturday in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state, the birthplace of the terrorist group.
On Monday, Premium Times cited Buratai as making an argument in favor of golf hours as a form of military training at the commissioning of the remodeled Rhino Golf Club of the Armored Division of the Nigerian Army in Plateau state over the weekend.
During the event, the army chief also announced the establishment of another venue — the Eagle Golf Course in Abuja — to further “encourage Nigerian Army officers to register as members.”
The general contended that “soldiers’ fitness could be fully kept through the regular playing of golf. He said it could also add the value of patience among soldiers and self-improvement in the discharge of military activities,” Premium Times noted.
Gen. Buratai explicitly said, “The game of golf is all about ethics and tradition just as the Nigeria Army. It is a game that brings people of all works of life together. I always tell people that no game can surpass golf because the game has nothing to do with age.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took $1 billion from a special account for oil revenue savings to intensify Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram in late 2017. The move came after Buhari declared the group defeated.
Reuters acknowledged at the time, “The release of such a large sum could raise concerns over corruption, endemic in Nigeria.”
More than a year after Buhari allegedly approved the use of the $1 billion to purchase military hardware for the Nigerian military in April 2018, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in northeastern Nigeria.
In December 2018, the Financial Times revealed that Nigerian lawmakers launched an investigation into the funds, noting that it “has not yet reached the army.”
Despite repeated claims of victory against Boko Haram, the Nigerian military continues to struggle to defeat the jihadi organization and its Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) offshoot. Late last year, the U.S. government deemed Boko Haram to be one of the top five deadliest terrorists threats in the world.
The U.S. military does not have offensive strike capabilities or authorities in Boko Haram’s area of operation — in and around Nigeria. However, it does lend some support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJFT) fighting the group.
The U.S. provides support in the form of intelligence, training, advisers, and equipment while avoiding direct engagement in military operations. Moreover, the U.S. has dispensed hundreds of millions in foreign aid to Nigeria in recent years, including $851 million in 2017 alone.
The war against Boko Haram’s insurgency, which erupted in 2009, has killed more than 35,500 people, including civilians, security forces, and jihadis, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) determined.
Of those fatalities, Boko Haram alone is responsible for 16,525 or more than 45 percent.