=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === The claim by the military high command that the country’s armed forces has not been adequately funded to prosecute an effective offensive against insecurity seems to have been a hoax after all as it was recently revealed that the service have actually received N197 billion till date to prosecute its armed campaigns.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Shinkafi, while speaking before the Senate Committee on Army few weeks ago, said that the funds released to the military to execute the war against insurgency spanned from 2019 to 2021. While N75 billion was appropriated and released in 2019, additional funds of N7 billion from the service wide vote was also released 100 per cent. Another amount of N2.5 billion was also released in year 2019.
Proceeding, Shinkafi said that in 2020, N75 billion was appropriated but N74.99 billion was released. For 2021, it was gathered that N100 billion was appropriated and the federal government through the ministry of finance has released N19.4 billion for the first quarter. Recently, another N19.95 billion was released to the military for the second quarter of 2021 to enable the military to execute the war.
Despite this update, a letter to the Senate from the Defence Headquarters on the funding of Operations Lafiya Dole, tendered by Senator Ndume, claimed that the military had a shortfall of N50 billion in terms of releases from the Ministry of Finance, requesting the Senate’s intervention.
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The aforementioned revelations becomes all the more significant in the face of the worsening security situation in the country, which has lately witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in attacks on both hard and soft targets by insurgents, bandits, and other non-state actors, culminating in high casualty figures and destruction of property at a scale not witnessed in earlier violent conflagrations in the country.
Agenda Watchdog wishes to formally call on the Senate Committee on the Army to quickly expedite action on its probe of military spending in the country by recommencing the process of summoning all principal government officials, military top brass and private operators involved in the sourcing, procurement and supply of military hardware and other wartime materials for the country’s military from 2019 till date; from the former and current Service Chiefs, to military contractors and ministries running the country’s defence sector.
The reluctance of some principal players associated with the country’s defence sector to cooperate with the ongoing probe of military spending in the country by a properly constituted Senate panel is quite worrisome and unfortunate. Not only is this an irresponsible display of unprofessionalism, it is also an asinine exhibition of a lack of patriotism by principal public servants constitutionally vested with the sacred mandate of keeping Nigerians and their property safe.
Worthy of note is the impudent, impetuous dispositions of some of the country’s principal political office holders and the top brass of the military, who act like Olympian gods; their omnipotent demeanor should not be tolerated this time around, considering the fact that lives are at stake here. Everybody must be made to account for their decisions and actions (and inactions too) in the prosecution of the ongoing wars. That soldiers are complaining of lack of ammunition and arms when the country is at war, alongside the fact that billions have reportedly been appropriated for the prosecution of this cause, is a matter that cannot be ignored. People must be made to account for the whereabouts of these funds.
Towards achieving victory, the three arms of government must work in synergy to unearth and obviate all encumbrances to the ultimate success of the government in its ongoing war against the dark forces traversing the land. In this wise, there should be no sacred cows, while no stone should be left unturned in uprooting all the bad eggs sabotaging ongoing efforts. The needful should be done to assure Nigerians of their safety.
The resurgence of killings and attacks on soft targets by Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs across the country is a wakeup call to those in authority that it can’t be business as usual.