By Bukola Olasanmi

 The Concerned Professionals Congress, CPC, has lauded plans by the Federal Government in the 2018 Budget proposal of the Ministry of Defence to effect the third instalment payment to owners of 269 shops at Giwa barracks forcefully closed by the military in 2016.
The closure was caused by attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who unleashed mayhem while trying to free their members detained at Giwa Barracks near Maiduguri in Borno State.
The ministry’s budget proposal showed N51, 803, 513,126.99 is
Overhead estimate while N144, 999, 999,931 is the Capital estimate.
 For the ministry’s 2017 Budget proposal, N25,836,230,505.00 was appropriated for the Ministry for its Personnel, Overhead and Capital Expenditure with N15,123,142,913.00 for Personnel, N1,611,511,518.00  for Overhead and N9,101,576,073.00  for Capital.
In a statement jointly issued in Abuja today by the group’s Chief Media Strategist, Mr. Emeka Nwankpa and the North East Regional Rapporteur, Malam Baba Al-Kasim, the group praised the Minister of Defence, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali for courageously making a case for the affected shop owners in the ministry’s 2018 Budget proposal currently before the National Assembly.
The group, which monitored the budget defence session last Thursday in Abuja at the Senate Committee on Defence presided over by its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari, praised the minister’s for making the gesture.
Mr. Nwankpa urged the Senate Committee, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement, Hon. Wole Oke before whom the minister appeared on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, to give positive consideration to the ministry’s budget proposal to ensure effective national security and stability.
‘’The minister revealed that the government is indebted to the 269 shop owners. We believe the shops were forcefully closed because security at the Giwa Barracks was compromised by the business activities which Boko Haram capitalized on to unleash mayhem to free their detained members.
‘’The shop owners headed to court and won. We commend the focused and result-driven defence minister for making a good case for the shop owners. Nothing can be spared to win the peoples’ hearts to win this war’’, he said.
The group praised the Armed Forces of Nigeria under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisaki, the service chiefs and the gallant troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole, for collaborating with other security forces in the country to defeat Boko Haram terrorists thereby rekindling hope and confidence in the sovereignty of the nation.
The court awarded damages to the owners in the suit, a ruling which the military authorities was said to be reluctant to appeal in line with Federal Government’s policy to win the peace at all cost including cushioning the effects of the anti-insurgency war on the people of the war-ravaged region.
In compliance therefore with the court judgment, the Ministry of Defence raised a payment plan that was reportedly agreeable to all parties. Of the initial total debt of N2.4Billion, payment for two instalments was appropriated and paid in 2016 and 2017 bringing the amount so far paid to N1.2B with a balance of N1.2B.
Thanking the lawmakers for their understanding, he said that barracks rehabilitation, purchase of security equipment, the military-industrial complex, the signing of bilateral agreements with foreign countries, the construction of 2 (Nos) zonal educational inspectorate offices in Enugu and Kaduna are some of the key capital projects to be executed in 2018.