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.
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.”