The 27 billion naira earmarked for capital projects for the Nigerian military out of the national budget estimates of 13 trillion ships by 2021 is grossly inadequate, says the Senate Army Committee.
The committee chairman, Senator Alli Ndume (APC Borno), made the comment on behalf of the committee when senior Nigerian military officials appeared before the committee for the budget defense session on Wednesday.
Ndume therefore called for better funding for the Nigerian army in the budget.
He said that given the challenges of insecurity in some parts of the country, the amount proposed for the Army would not be sufficient for its operations in the country.
“In a budget of 13 trillion naira and in a period of crisis, you cannot budget less than 30 billion naira for the Nigerian army. That amount is grossly inadequate, especially now that we have challenges everywhere.
“Some 27 billion naira as capital for the Nigerian army is insufficient with a budget of 13 billion naira.”
He said the Nigerian Army was operating in 33 states, noting that it needed adequate funding to successfully execute its mandate, especially in the procurement of ammunition.
“In most cases, these teams are destroyed during counterattacks; therefore, the military needs money to operate effectively.
However, he said the committee would have to be convinced of what the army needed and what it needed it for.
He urged Army officials to be open about the issues when presenting the tax proposal to the commission.
This, Ndume noted, would allow the committee to have background and informed knowledge of its intentions in the budget.
He also said that the information provisions required by the Army from the committee would allow the committee to support its positions on the budget.
“We will look at what they have done so far and what they need and then we will do what it takes and see how we can help ourselves as Nigerians for the safety of Nigerians.
“The main purpose of the government is the safety and well-being of the citizens. “But we can’t do that, you put your shoe on, you have to open up to the committee.
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“Tell us about your problem, defend what you have done before so that we can support you and speak from the bottom of Knowledge anywhere.
“The budget is double, it accounts for what was given in 2020 and the amount allocated and released and what it intends to do in 2021.”
Ndume said that the Army was one of the most important government agencies in the Nigerian context, especially with the current challenges of insurgency, banditry, confrontations between farmers and herders and other forms of criminality throughout the country.
He said the committee had begun its supervisory visits to eight Army divisions in the country.
“We intend to go to everyone, we have visited the 8th Division in Sokoto which is operating in Sokoto, Kastina and Zamfara.
“We have seen what is happening and we have also had discussions with the local people and we have an idea of what is happening.
Ndume also told reporters after a closed-door budget presentation by Army officials that the committee was unwilling to de-radicalize repentant Boko Haram members in the country.
He said it was not in the best interests of Nigerians to reintegrate Boko Haram members who professed to repent into society when the war against the insurgency was still going on.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was represented in the defense of the budget, which was a closed session by Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, Chief of Policy and Army Planning. (YAYA)