- A civil society organisation has called on lawmakers to improve on the annual budget for the ministry of defence
- The group said the budgetary allocation doesn't match the current realities on the ground
- The group also said that security is the most serious business and should be given utmost attention
A group of Nigerians, under the auspices of One Voice Nigeria, has called on the 9th National Assembly to improve its annual allocation for defence.
According to the group, the budgetary allocation doesn't match the current realities on the ground.
It was on this premise these concerned Nigerians launched a campaign titled ‘Nothing is Too Much for Our Security’ at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, on Tuesday, June 25.
At the event, convener of the group, Kabiru Dallah said that security is the most serious business and should be given utmost attention.
While applauding the efforts of the 8th National Assembly to marginally increase funding for defence, the group charged Senator Ahmed Lawan’s led arm of government to go more steps further.
One Voice Nigeria, however, called on all Nigerians, home and abroad to join this one-off project aimed at supporting the nation's troops and enhancing our sovereignty.
“We hereby present our 3-point agenda for security spending. The first point of the agenda we are setting for the National Assembly is to double and possibly quadruple defence and security spending. This point is premised on the reality that the current budgeting for the Armed Forces, particularly the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Police Force is very low.
“The need for the federal lawmakers to find ways of increasing the funds available to these bodies in view of ongoing operations against Boko Haram/ISWAP, cattle-rustlers, bandits, kidnappers, militants and other threats that have necessitated the massive deployment of the military and mobile police units," Dallah said.
He said the budget for these organizations has to change to reflect the current reality as necessity to pass a special supplementary budget to ensure that they are speedily empowered to deal with the security threats in the land cannot be over-emphasied.
“The second point is that the National Assembly must, for the sake of the urgency around security issues in Nigeria, ensure speedy passage of defence budget and releases to the military. The country has the benefit of experience to know what happens when intervention budgets are allowed to succumb to politics as was the case with the issue of the $1billion sought by President Buhari, which the last parliament frustrated in the name of getting at the president.
“By the time the lawmakers in that parliament were done with their politicking Boko Haram has upgraded to become ISWAP. This situation could have been avoided if the urgency of the situation were considered and given primacy," he said.
Noting that the third point of the agenda is to the ministry of finance, which must give priority to issues of national security, Dallah said the legislature must ensure that no arm of the military or the Police suffer any financial weakness on the account of non-release of funds.
“It does not matter if the expenditure in question is recurrent or capital whether for procurement of critical war infrastructure or for other logistics. Going forward, any contrived failure to release funds to these institutions would be viewed by Nigerians as collusion with terrorists and criminals on the part of the officials responsible for such delay.
“We, therefore, urge you all to follow us on all social media handles that will be passed by my colleagues to critically engage stakeholders at all levels. This is our new approach to fighting insecurity and urge all Nigerians and our international partners to join us on this project.
“Nothing is too much for us to spend on the security of Nigeria. Nothing is too much because security is key," Dallah concluded.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Chief of Army Staff, on Monday, April 15, said Boko Haram activities have been confined only to the Lake Chad area and the Sambisa forest in Northeastern Nigeria.
Buratai assured that Nigerian Army is still in search of the remaining abducted Chibok girls still in Boko Haram captivity.
Legit.ng gathered that Buratai stated this while delivering the maiden lecture of the centre for contemporary security affairs at the Igbinedion University, Okada in Edo state titled: “Military and democratic consolidation in Nigeria, appraisal of the Nigerian Army counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation."
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