Insecurity: One Percent Budget For Defence Shows ‘We Are Not Serious’ – Ndume

 

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has faulted the N99.87 billion capital expenditure budgetary allocation for Ministry of Defence, stressing that the amount is less than one percent of the N10.33 trillion budget proposal for 2020 fiscal year.

Senator Ndume said that the country is in a war and if such ‘paltry sum’ is presented for the entire defence and not just the Army, it shows that ‘we are not serious’ about completely ending the insurgency war.

A National Assembly Joint Committee on the Army operations visited Theatre Commands in the North East last week to have a better insight as deliberations on the budget for the 2020 fiscal year begins.

The visit according to Senator Ndume, showed that the Army deserves more than what is being allocated in the 2020 budget, owing to the upgrade of equipment and kits for combating insurgents.

“We are in a war; when you are in this situation, and you are budgeting N10.3 trillion, and you are allocating less than 1 percent to defence, that does not show that we are serious about it, the defence, not the Army, is N100 billion.

“If you look at this and what our constitution says, in a budget of N10 trillion, more than half of it should secure the country because if we are not secured, the entire infrastructure, hospital and developments will not work.

“The only thing that our soldiers don’t have is the upgrade of their equipment’s; they should be well kitted; helmets, bulletproof, boots, uniform, rifles should be provided and you can’t do that with the paltry sum on N10 billion,” he added.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Insurgency: We Lost Over 847 Soldiers From 2013 To Date, Says Ndume

On the issue of the humanitarian crisis in the Northeast, Senator Ndume explained that the insurgency has caused a surge in IDPs migrating to Monguno, being the safest place with a heavy military presence, and it is necessary for the government to put in frantic effort in allocating more funds.

“So the issue of the humanitarian crisis that follows the insurgency; right now we have a surge in the IDPs moving from Northern Borno to Monguno which is the safest, and that is putting so much pressure on the government.

“The international community have so far, requested from foreign donors the sum of $848 million. So far, they have donated $547 million, while the Nigerian government that this thing is directly affecting, is budgeting N38 billion for North East development and humanitarian crisis.”

Danjuma Seeks Nigerians’ Support For IDPs In Northeast

Theophilus-DanjumaThe Chairman of Victims Support Fund, General Theophilus Danjuma, has appealed to well-meaning Nigerians and donor agencies to assist the Federal Government in re-building the northeast devastated by the activities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Speaking at the 6th Annual National Security Seminar organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College, General Danjuma said that rebuilding the northeast would require over two trillion Naira.

He advised the Federal Government to focus on structural systems that would de-radicalise and ensure the protection of youths from being indoctrinated by extremists.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Danjuma Sheni, advocated the need for a quick resettlement of the victims of Boko Haram.

President and Commandant of the Alumni Association of the College, Brigadier General Jonathan Temlong and Rear Admiral Samuel Alade respectively, expressed concerns about the increasing number of displaced persons.

With over one million displaced persons said to be taking refuge in neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger under dehumanising conditions, an urgent steps to resolve the issue of IDPs would be a welcome development by many Nigerians.

UK Launches First Syria Air Strikes

UK Launches First Syria Air StrikesHours after British Members of Parliament (MP) voted in favour of UK action in Syria, RAF Tornado jets have carried out their first air strikes against so-called Islamic state in Syria.

According to BBC, MPs backed the British military action by 397 votes to 223 after a 10-hour debate in the House of Commons.

Shortly after the vote, four tornado jets took off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

An official of the Ministry of Defence, Michael Fallon, says the sorties have returned from the “first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes”.

He added that the ministry would be assessing the damage done by the bombing later, stating that the aim was to strike “a very real blow on the oil and revenue on which Daesh depends”.

Defence Chief Vows To Flush Out Boko Haram By December

Boko HaramThe Nigerian Armed Forces say they are working hard to ensure that Boko Haram is flushed out of the nation’s territory within the three-month deadline given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

After a meeting with President Buhari on Monday, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, told reporters that the deadline of December was achievable.

 

He said the meeting had become necessary to review the operations of the military after 60 days into the new order.

General Olonisakin said the mandate would be delivered, in spite of the challenges of weather and logistics.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila, also said that President Buhari was not in doubt with the capabilities of the Nigerian Army to end the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east.

It was also revealed that the President would be meeting with the Service Chiefs in few days, in continuation of the review, as the deadline draws nearer.

President Buhari in August gave the Service Chiefs three months to terminate the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

 

Gowon Asks Amnesty International To Apologise To Nigerian Army

GowonFormer Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has demanded an apology from Amnesty International to the Nigerian military over accusations of inhuman treatment in its fight against the Boko Haram sect.

The elder statesman admitted that there might exist instances where military operations have raised human right concerns but said that the military never engages in ‘slitting of throat’ of any person whether civilian or terrorist as peddled by the international human rights group.

General Gowon was speaking at the National Defence College Course 24 inauguration lecture.

On June 3, 2015, Amnesty International released shocking videos where they claimed that more than 7,000 suspects died in military detention from torture, starvation as well as evidence of the military slitting the throats of some of the men and boys.

That accusation did not go down well with General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) as he described the accusation as unfair to the Nigerian Army.

“They are accusing the Nigerian armed forces of doing all sorts of atrocities like cutting the throat of the Boko Haram people whereas it is the Boko Haram people that were doing that exercise and I have seen many videos of what they were doing to poor innocent Nigerians in Gwoza area.

“For them (Amnesty International) to accuse Nigerian military of doing that, certainly is wrong because the Nigerian military were never trained to do that sort of exercise. It is absolutely false, wrong and they should not make such an accusation.

“They should apologise to the Nigerian military and to Nigeria,” he said.

The elder statesman also identified internal discord among security agencies, inadequate welfare and questions of indiscipline as some of the reasons why the armed forces have not completely overcome insurgency in the country.

The Federal Government, has however said that is now a forgotten issue. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Of Defence, Ismaila Aliu, in a chat with Channels Television, expressed confidence that the military could win the war on terror within three months as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“By all indices, we might even beat the deadline, but one thing is that information sharing is very important. Civilians need to give us information to address certain security challenges,” he said.

The Chief Of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai also shared the same optimism, describing the military’s progress within the first month as “fantastic” and an indication that the war can indeed be won in three months.

War On Terror: Wounded Soldiers Assured Of Adequate Care

Samaila-Aliyu
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Samaila Aliyu.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Samaila Aliyu, has assured soldiers wounded in the ongoing fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east of adequate care and assistance by the federal government.

He gave the assurance on Friday when he visited wounded soldiers receiving treatment at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna.

The Permanent Secretary was accompanied to the hospital by senior military officers.

Mr Aliyu said that the purpose of his visit was to comfort the wounded troops and also encourage them for fighting to defend the integrity of Nigeria.

He also told reporters that the visit was to see the state of facilities at the hospital in order to identify areas of improvement.

“Definitely, action will be taken in the next few weeks. We will see wherever the Federal Government will come in, in terms of intervention here.

“The Hospital is very special not only to the army but to the Nigerian government. We will want the hospital to be of international standard,” he told reporters.

President Buhari Initiates Move For Domestic Weapons Production

Muhammadu-Buhari-Defence-academy-of-Nigeria2Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Federal Ministry of Defence to strategise for the establishment of a modest Military Industrial Complex for the production of domestic weapons, to meet some of the requirements of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The President made this declaration in Abuja on Friday at the graduation ceremony of the National Defence College, where he condemned the country’s over-dependence on other countries for critical military equipment and logistics.

“We must evolve viable mechanisms for near-self-sufficiency in military equipment and logistics production complemented only by very advanced foreign technologies.

“The Ministry of Defence is being tasked to draw up clear and measurable outlines for development of a modest Military Industrial Complex for Nigeria,” President Buhari said.

Buhari said the decision was made to liaise with other strategic MDAs and industries to re-engineer the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to meet national military hardware and logistics requirements.

‘Win The War’

He observed that since his administration’s assumption of office, it had reviewed the nature and character of Nigeria’s security threats and challenges.

“We recognised first and foremost, the external dimensions of these threats and the need for international cooperation and common security mechanisms to tackle them,” he said.

President Buhari explained that in the light of this realisation, his Administration was “convinced that the best approach was to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilise a collective regional effort in the fight against terrorism and insurgency.

The President urged the graduates, officers and men of the Armed Forces to work harder to win the war against the Boko Haram, terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east.

“We must apply a comprehensive strategy and coordinate all elements of national power against terrorism and insurgency; we must show result oriented leadership at all levels of military Command; we must set up an optimal organisation to manage and sustain operational performance; and we must show confidence and winning mentality,” Buhari said.

‘Make A Marked Difference’

The President assured Nigerians and the international community that the Federal Government, under his leadership, would strive to meet the operational, logistic, training and welfare requirements of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

He also reaffirmed his commitment to ameliorating the hardships of people living in areas most affected by insurgency and terrorism.

“We have the will, resolve and conviction to apply a comprehensive strategy and coordinate all elements of national power against terrorism and insurgency,” the President stressed.

Buhari said that the National Defence College had fulfilled the vision of its founding fathers, by becoming a strategic human capacity-building institution, making credible contributions to Nigeria and other friendly countries.

The President urged graduates of the College’s Course 23 to resolve to ‘make a marked difference in your future deployments and contribute your quota to the evolution and implementation of national security, defence and military strategies’.

“You should be the source that lights up the environment wherever you find yourselves,” he said.

Defence Chief Asks Nigerians To Approach War On Terror Holistically

Alex-Badeh2The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has reiterated the need for all Nigerians to approach the war on terror holistically by providing needed support to the security agencies.

Addressing participants at the 2014 National Security Seminar organised by the Defence Headquarters, Air Chief Marshal Badeh said the fight against members of Boko Haram was being hampered by willing sympathisers who are providing a platform for them to strike.

But he was optimistic that the war against terrorism would be won speedily with the combined support of all Nigerians.

The design and implementation of new strategies to combat terrorism was the focus of the national seminar held at Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The Chief of Defence Staff stressed the need for Nigerians to approach the war holistically.

In his speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Samaila, advised participants to seek practical ways of addressing Nigeria’s security challenges.

Presenting a paper on combating contemporary security threats in Nigeria, the guest lecturer and a security consultant, Dr Sam Tende, believed that the war against insurgency could and be won through better funding of security agencies.

He traced insecurity in the country to the failure of government at all levels.

Against the backdrop of sustained attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect, the annual National Security Seminar, which attracted security officials from the armed forces, police and para military agencies, has as its theme, ‘National Security Challenges and Contemporary Threats in Nigeria’.

Boko Haram Crisis: UK Spy Plane Breaks Down

UK Spy PlaneBritain has said that on Monday, a military surveillance aircraft it had dispatched to help search for more than 200 missing schoolgirls in Nigeria had broken down en route.

The plane, an RAF Sentinel, was deployed on Sunday after Nigeria accepted an offer of help from British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said that the plane has been forced to land in Senegal for repairs.

The plane left the UK on Sunday, joining an international effort to secure the release of the girls.

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Ministry of Defence is currently unable to provide the aircraft’s expected time of arrival.

It was meant to join U.S. aircraft in the search for the missing girls who were abducted in April by the Boko Haram sect.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in a media chat, had called for international support in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The group that is demanding for an Islamic state have carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the North East, with the abduction of the girls as spoils of terrorism on April 14 drawing world interest.

Air Force Personnel Among Suspected kidnappers

Serving Nigerian Air Force personnel, Lance Corporal Suleiman Mohammed, has been paraded by the department of state service among seven suspected kidnappers alleged to have kidnapped a Sokoto based businessman, Mr Dan Kure.

Lance Corporal Mohammed, 24, is attached to the Ministry of Defence.

Parading the suspects in Abuja, the acting spokesperson of the service, Mr. Doyin Adetuberu, said that the suspects collected $290,000 ransom from the family of the victim.

Mr Dan Kure was kidnapped on November 6 at his construction site in Sokoto. He was released on November 11 but died 11 days later.

“The determination of the Service to unravel the criminals behind the dastardly act led to the arrest of the masterminds of the crime

“The suspects will soon be arraigned in court,” Mr Adetuberu said.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the state service to combating all forms of insecurity and urged the citizens to be vigilant and continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies through the provision of useful information on suspicious activities within their environment.

 

Senate Decries Underfunding Of Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

The Nigerian Senate has termed as inadequate the funding of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji North West Nigeria.

At an oversight visit to the college by the Senate Joint Committee on Defence and Army on Thursday, the committee members lamented that the annual budgetary allocation to the college is insufficient to meet its demands, while at the same time; the funds approved are never released fully by the Ministry of Defence.

Worried by the insufficient funds allocated to the college in the 2013 budget, the committee said it was totally unacceptable that such a foremost military training institution in Sub Saharan Africa would be starved of funds to carry out its duties of churning out highly skilled officers for the country.

Chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo who led other members to the college said the committee will do everything within its powers to ensure that the institution is funded properly by the Federal Government, given its importance to the security of the nation.

Senator Sekibo told the commandant that the committee was at the college to ascertain if the funds approved to the college in the 2013 budget have been released by the relevant offices and also to know how the funds were spent.

In their separate presentations, the commandant of the college, Air Vice Marshal Eko Effiom Osim and Director of Finance, James Iliyasu told the lawmakers that out of the 3 billion Naira appropriated to the college for various projects this year, only 1.5 Billion Naira has been accessed on paper, while only the sum of 743 million Naira was released for Capital Expenditure as at October 31, 2013, a situation that has hindered rapid development of infrastructure in the college.

Despite the challenges, the commandant said the management has been able to execute some capital projects.

At the end of their presentation, the committee members were not impressed with the budgetary allocation to the college and blamed the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for the disparities in funds approved and the ones released to the college.

The committee however, expressed satisfaction with the expenditure pattern of the college and called on the Federal Government to take the college as a priority by allocating enough funds to the institution.

The Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji,  is a joint Service Institution established in 1976 to offer increased capacity for academic and professional training of military officers and other ranks of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Three unexploded bombs discovered at Enugu construction site

Three unexploded bombs believed to be remnants of explosives used during the three-year Nigerian civil war were discovered at a construction site in Enugu by construction workers digging a foundation.

The Field Administrator of the Nigerian Mine Action Centre, a department of the Federal Ministry of Defence, Dr. Emeka Uhegbu, told journalists shortly after removing the three unexploded bombs at the site, which is close to the 9th Mile area of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, that if the unexploded bombs were not found and defused, they could kill innocent people.

He maintained that over 50, 000 unused explosives were presently scattered across 12 states of the South-East, South-South and North-Central, warning that residents of the affected areas must be careful of such objects.

He disclosed that following the discovery by the workers, the anti-bomb unit of the Enugu State Police Command was alerted, who in turn informed the ministry, leading to the removal of the bombs by their officials.

He said “if the labourers had made mistake of hitting a hard object on the explosives, it had the capacity of killing thousands of people around the area, which was less than a kilometre to the country home of Governor Sullivan Chime”.

“If you tamper with it, it could kill; the least it can do would be to maim you. We are appealing to our people that the war has ended but these things are still continuing the war. We are one in this country; we are going round removing them.”