Ndume faults N100bn budgetary allocation to defence
Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume has described the N100bn budgetary proposal for defence as paltry and incapable of funding the war against insurgency.
He said the amount was less than one per can’t of the budget called for more action at equipping the military which has suffered serious casualties but has remained determined to stamp out the insurgents.
Ndume who addressed journalists in the National Assembly said Nigeria is at war and the military which prosecutes this war on behalf of the country must be fully funded to meet the challenge of the war.
He wondered at the low financial commitment to the war, when, according to him, those who are directly affected by the insurgents like the international donors have donated about $547 million (N140bn) to the Nigerian government an amount over the nation’s budgetary proposal.
He pointed out that the proposal for the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) of N38bn was less than the amount by the donor agency.
“Defence is allocated 100bn. I was hoping that its 10 per cent only to discover it is one per cent of 10.33 trillion which 130 billion, that means it is not even up to 1%.
“If more that half of the budget is given to security, it is worth it. Because without it, all these things that you are doing – infrastructure, hospitals – will not work,” Senator Ndume stated.
He said better kits, bullet proof vests, better riffles cannot be provided for with the sum of N100billion.
He said the soldiers have put their lives on the line and must be commended for their patriotism.
The former Senate leader said the recent visit of his committee members to Borno state was revealing on the level of human casualty suffered by the Army in one gravesite where over 847 soldiers were buried, since 2013.
He said given the enormity of the responsibility on the Army it was important for appropriate funding of the military operation in the Northeast to decimate the insurgents who have been reduced to gorilla tactics.
He said the claims of the existence of mass graves where soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents had been buried.
According to him, the Army is detail about its personnel at combat keeping records of the dead, missing or injured.
He called on the government to recruit more men into the service to boost the fight as the insurgents don’t only attack civilians but the military as well.
Ndume said there have been credible evidence pointing to some NGO’s being used by the insurgent to gather intelligence.
“Another area that the Senate will look into is the allegation that the various NGOs in that area are conniving with the insurgents – providing them information, logistics and so many things.”
“I have been critical about this and people have told me to be careful but it has come out now that one or two of the so-called NGOs operating there are actually aiding and abetting and supporting the insurgents but we will do an investigation and we will hear if we have the evidence.”