The Nigerian Army on Thursday said inadequate funding of its activities has been a major impediment to its efforts at tackling effectively, issues of insecurity in the country.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, who disclosed this before the Senate Committee on Army, chaired by Senator George Akume (APC Benue North West), to defend the 2018 budget proposal of the Army, said, “most of the security challenges would have been resolved before they became worse and caused more causalities if there was adequate fund”.
Speaking on releases for the 2017 approved budget of the Army, he noted that though, emoluments of the soldiers were fully funded, capital projects were not so lucky, as less than 60 percent success was recorded in that wise.
General Buratai said overhead appropriation for 2017 recorded 42.82 percent and that amounted to N171 billion, adding that N11.8 billion was released out N20 billion for capital projects.
He said: “In preparation for 2018 budget, the ministry of defence and the ministry of budget and national planning proposed a total sum of N233.05 billion. However, the Nigerian army is requesting the sum of N261.67 billion”, the army chief said.
“I wish to also expatiate that on the 2018 Nigerian Army capital budget proposal, vis-a-vis the projects captured by the ministry of budget and national planning, the ministry captured the sum of N21.6 billion.
“However, the Nigerian army is requesting this hallowed chamber for an increase of N18.17 billion naira which will surge the Nigerian army’s capital proposal to N39.8 billion.
“We are intending to procure drones establish reconnection centres for Nigerian Army at the sum of N2.05 billion. We also have the rehabilitation of Nigerian barracks across the six geopolitical zones at about 5 billion Naira and we are also procuring more arms and ammunition which will amount to N4.8 billion.
“We have three additional divisions and N1.5 billion is required to operate and equip each division. I humbly pray that the sum of 195.7 billion Naira should be approved for Nigerian army personnel monument in the 2018 budget.
“Also, the sum of N26.1 billion should be approved for the 2018 Nigerian Army overhead budget while the sum of 39.8 should be approved for the army’s 2018 capital budget”.
The Army Chief appealed to the national assembly to ask the Finance Ministry to stop the overhead allocation for settlement of power bills from source.
“The national assembly should persuade the Ministry of budget and National Planning to exempt the Nigerian army from the existing envelops allocation system.
“This is in view of the ongoing structural changes volatile security environment and massive engagement of troops in virtually all the 36 states of the federation”, he added.
His position was reinforced by the comments of the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba (APC Sokoto South), who noted that it’s uncalled for, for them. Nigerian military battling insecurity in the country not to have its funding totally as listed and approved in the budget.
He noted that the nation can do better by releasing funds as and when due to the Nigerian Army, whose officers daily stake their own lives to protect the rest of Nigerians.
Also speaking, Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South), said insecurity in the country is taking a threatening dimension, adding that without peace the country would not grow.
“Just like some others who are in the first line charge, the money is released 100 percent at the end of the day. It is because insecurity is taking a threatening dimension that the Senate is organising a summit.
“If Army is handicapped we are all in trouble because without peace we cannot grow. First line charge is the way to go. It is significant”, he said.