By Sunday Isuwa, Abuja
Despite claims that the Nigerian military is underfunded and lack the equipments and weapons to execute the war against terrorism, the service has gotten N197 billion.
A letter from the Defence Headquarters on the funding of Operations Lafiya Dole is claiming that they have a shortfall of N50 billion in terms of releases.
The defence headquarters is requesting that the Nigerian Senate through it committee should do a follow-up on the matter.
Several Nigerians have also said that the Nigerian military is underfunded, making them incapable to fight the war against insecurity.
But it has been revealed that the Nigerian military has gotten the sum of N197 billion to execute the war from the federal government.
The country has also witnessed resurgence of killings and attacks on soft targets by Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs in the country.
But the amount given to the military to execute the war against terror spanned from 2019 to 2021. The money was given to them from their service wide vote.
It was gathered that while N75 billion was appropriated and released in 2019, additional funds of N7 billion from the service wide vote was also released 100 per cent. Another amount of N2.5 billion was also released in year 2019.
In 2020, N75 billion was appropriated but N74.99 billion was released. For 2021, it was gathered that N100 billion was appropriated and the federal government throught the ministry of finance has released N19.4 billion for the first quarter. On Wednesday, another N19.95 billion was released to the military for the second quarter of 2021 to enable the military to execute the war.
Speaking when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Army, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Shinkafi said N75 billion was appropriated and released to the military in 2019 while additional funds of N7 billion from the service wide vote was also released 100 per cent. He said the sum of N2.5 billion was also released in 2019.
“In 2020, N75bn was appropriated but N74.99bn was released. In the current year, N100bn was appropriated and we have released N19.4bn for the first quarter. Just yesterday, (Wednesday) we released N19.95bn for the second quarter,” Shinkafi said adding that they are on course as far as releases for military operations are concerned.
However, Ndume brought out a letter from the Chief of Defence Staff where he sid the military authorities complained that they had shortfall as far as releases from the Finance Ministry was concerned.
But the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, said they received a letter from the Defence headquarters on the funding of Operations Lafiya Dole which claimed a shortfall of N50 billion in terms of releases and requested for their intervention.
But the Senate Committee has asked the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze and the Chief of Army Staff, Attahiru Ibrahim to appear before it on Tuesday to explain details of the funds so far released to the Nigerian Army to fight insurgency, banditry and other forms of insecurity, from 2019 till date.
Ndume expressed disappointment that the minister shunned the invitation of his panel despite the importance of the issue at stake.
He said, “Honestly, we are not happy that the minister of finance is not here today despite the fact that she was duly invited and she knew the importance of the issue we invited her to discuss with us.
“There is nothing that is more important that she could be attending to than the serious problem of insecurity all over Nigeria at the moment. We were blaming the military but the soldiers are claiming that they have no equipment, arms and ammunition to work with because there was no money to buy them.
“We have invited the Minister now to explain why her ministry was not funding the operations of the Army and she is not here. This is not acceptable,” he added.