A retired military officer, Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo, believes Governor Ayodele Fayose is being ignorant of why President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of $1billion for the purchase of military equipment.
The security expert said this with utmost respect to the Ekiti State governor on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
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President Buhari had approved the fund during a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the service chiefs on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Governor Fayose, on his part, alleged that the approval was a clever move by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government to raise funds to finance the 2019 presidential election and the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti.
Reacting to the governor’s comment, Stan-Labo said, “I just listened to His Excellency, Governor Ayo Fayose and with due respect, I want to say His Excellency is speaking from a position of ignorance.”
“How do I mean? This money, to start with, is going to help in enhancing the procurement deficit we have presently (which has existed) for quite some while now because we’ve never taken the pain to allot adequately to the military.
“The military has always been short-changed at the point of statutory appropriation – that is to say in the Congress (National Assembly) – such that at the end of the day, there is no single pin that you buy in the military that is produced in this country, we import nearly everything,” he explained.
– $1bn Really Needed? –
Amid the insecurity issues in the country, including the Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen attacks in parts of the country, the retired colonel noted that Nigeria can afford to use and should use such huge sum of money for security.
He further reminded Nigerians that the fund is not just meant for the fight against insurgency in the North East, but also to tackle other insecurity challenges in the country.
Stan-Labo was optimistic that the fund would boost the general operation within the Armed Forces, as well as facilitate training and assist all initiatives on manpower generation.
He noted that the issue of manpower in the military was because the government lacks what it takes to enhance the nation’s manpower generation efforts.
The security expert, however, maintained that the fund was really needed to support military operations, considering the roles of the country in Africa and the international community.
He approximated that Nigeria is the fourth largest troops contributing country in the peacekeeping initiatives of the United Nations.
“When you look at the role we play within the AU and ECOWAS as far as peace and stabilisation efforts are concerned, you will agree with me that we need a strong defence machinery on ground – one that has got what it takes to help us in projecting our foreign policies,” Stan-Labo said.