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Wednesday, 11 November 2020

2021 Budget: Senate Seeks Increased Funding for Nigerian Army

The N27 billion earmarked for capital  projects for the Nigerian Army from the  N13 trillion 2021  National  Budget  estimates  is grossely  inadequate, says  the Senate Committee on Army. 

Chairman  of the  Committee, Senator Alli Ndume (APC Borno) made  the remark on behalf of the commitee, when top  officials of the Nigerian Army appeared before the  committee for budget defence session. 

Ndume therefore, called for improved funding  for  the  Nigerian  Army  in the  2021 budget. 

He said  given  the challenges  of insecurity  in  parts  of the  country,  the amount proposed  for  the Army  would  not  be enough for its operations in the  country. 

"In a budget of N13 trillion  and  in a period  of war,  you  can  not  budget  less than  N30 billion  to the Nigerian  Army, that  amount  is grossely  inadequate  especially  now  that  we have  challenges every where.

"27 billion  as capital to  the  Nigerian  Army is inadequate out of a budget of N13 trillion."

He said  the Nigerian  Army  was operating  in 33 states of the Federation, noting that  it required adequate  funds  to successfully  execute  its  mandate especially  on procurement  of ammunitions. 

"Especially, when  you  are in a period  of war, those equipments in most cases are destroyed during counter attacks, therefore  the army  needs  money  to operate effectively.

He, however, said the committee would  have to be convinced on what the army  needs and what it  was needed  for.

He urged the Army officials to be open  on the  issues, in the  presentation  of the  budget proposal  to the  committee. 

This, Ndume  noted  would  enable  the  committee  have  a background and informed  knowledge of its  intentions  in the  budget.

He also  said the provisions of required  information  by the Army to the  committee  would enable the committee  to support their position in the  budget. 

"We will look at  what  you have  done  so far and what you  need  and then  do the  needful and see how  we can  help  ourselves  as Nigerians  for  the  security  of Nigerians. 
 
"The main purpose  of government is security and welfare of the citizens  but we can not  do that, you  wear  the shoe,  you have to open up  to the  committee, tell  us your  problem, defend what you  have  done  before.

"So that we can  stand  with  you and  talk  from  the  background  of Knowledge  any  where. 

"The  budget  is  two  fold, you  give  account  for what  you were  given  in 2020 and  and amount  appropriated  and released and what you  intend  to do in 2021."

Ndume said  the  Army  was one of the most  important  agency  of government in the Nigerian contest especially  with  current  challenges  of insurgency, banditry, farmers herdsmen clashes, and other  forms  of criminality  across  the  country. 

He said the committee had begun its  oversight  visits  to  eight  Army divisions  in the country. 

"We intend  to go to all,  we have  visited  the  8th  divisions  in Sokoto that is being operated  in Sokoto, Kastina and Zamfara.

"We have seen what  is on, ground  and we have  also  had  discussions  with the local people and  have  a feel  of what  is going  on.

Ndume  also told  journalists  after  a closed  door  budget presentation by the Army  officials that  the  committee  was not  disposed  to  de-radicalization of repentant  Boko Haram  members in the  country. 

He said  it was  not  in the  best  interest of Nigerians  to re-integrate  the  professed  repentant Boko Haram  members  into  the  society  when the  war  on  insurgency  was  still on. 

The Chief  of Army Staff,   Lt.Gen.Tukur Buratai was represented at the budget  defence  which  was a closed  door session by Lt.Gen Lamidi  Adeosun, Army  Chief  of Policy and Planning.

NAN

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