BY SUNDAY ISUWA, Abuja
Federal government yesterday said it has overfunded “Operation Lafiya Dole” which is fighting insurgency in the North East zone.
The government said apart from the usual budgetary provisions for the operation, additional requests were made by the military through the president.
Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed stated this when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Army, chaired by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).
There have been insinuations that the Nigerian Army is not getting enough funds to execute the war against insurgency.
Last week, Ndume made reference to a letter written by the chief of defence staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, that the “Operation Lafiya Dole” was underfunded, adding that they had a shortfall of N50billion.
He asked the Senate through its Committee on Army to intervene on the funding of the military.
But when the committee invited Ahmed, she said they had overfunded Operation Lafiya Dole” in the North East.
The minister said the president prioritises the funding of the security agencies, adding that their funding is hundred per cent.
“The funding of the “Operation Lafiya Dole” is 100 per cent. Apart from the budget, some of the military officials always meet the president with additional requests and we fund them.
“In 2019, N75 billion was budgeted for the “Operation Lafiya Dole” but we ended up spending N82.61 billion. N75 billion was what was budgeted for the operation but we ended up paying over 110 per cent,” she said.
Earlier, Ndume had raised the alarm that insurgents in the country were “resurging”, calling on the authorities to rise to the challenge.
“I’ve not seen a Nigerian soldier holding new AK-47 yet. Up to when I go round, the only place the army holds new AK-47 is Abuja. But other places, they don’t hold old AK47.
“Nigerians want the issue of finance and funding of the military addressed,” he said.
Speaking after his bill seeking for the establishment of the Federal College of Education, Gwoza, Borno State passed the second reading, Ndume said since the insurgents awere targeting the Nigerian education sector, the government must not caved in to their antics.
“The problem in this country is not that of request and the need for more institutions, the problem you are talking about centers on security and that does not only affect the institutions,” he said.