Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Yusuf Buratai, has said that inadequate funding of military operations is frustrating the fight against insurgency.
Buratai told the Senate Committee on Army yesterday, while defending its 2018 budget, that the same lack of resources was constraining operations of the army to tackle other security challenges confronting the country.
According to him, most security challenges could have been successfully tackled if needed resources were made available.Buratai, who welcomed the suggestion by the committee that the army and other security agencies should be placed on first line charge, noted that “the first line charge advocacy is very important.”
On the 2018 budget, he said that the Budget and National Planning office voted N233. 05 billion for the army instead of the N261.67 billion it required.
Some critical projects listed include: procurement of drones and aerial reconnaissance center, N2. 5 billion; rehabilitation of barracks N5 billion; procurement of arms and ammunition N4.8 billion; funds for additional three divisions and new operational activation each N1.5 billion, totaling N4.5 billion.
Buratai who reassured that the Nigeria Army is committed to the protection of the country’s territorial integrity said that they are working to clear the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents.
He also assured that they would subject themselves to civil authority at all times.Chairman of the committee, Senator George Akume, said that it was obvious that the army did well in the context of the amount released to it.
Akume said they believed that when fund was released, it should be used in the interest of the country.He informed his colleagues that the meeting would be brief because “the Chief of Army Staff will be rushing to the North East to handle the issue of those who don’t want us to rest.”
Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba said that it was wrong for the Federal Government not to release budgeted funds.He said that findings showed that only 42 per cent of the overhead of 2017 was released.
He said, “You have to make a realistic budget. You cannot make a budget for 12 months calendar and only three months will be implemented. This means that something was wrong. It means that the planners of the budget did not do their homework. We will engage the executive to ensure that budgets are implemented.”
Senator Akume added that any provision for capital budget that was not implemented should be rolled over to the next fiscal year. Senator James Manager lamented increasing security challenges in parts of the country. Manager who represents Delta South suggested that to adequately provide for security agencies, their budgetary allocations should placed in first line charge to ensure that amounts voted will be released 100 per cent.He said, “The first line charge is the way to go to keep security agencies going and performing to secure the country. We have serious security challenges confronting the nation that should be addressed by security agencies. This is the way to go for us to survive.”