By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
The Federal Government has earmarked N675 billion for the procurement of arms and equipment; and training of 8,000 soldiers to end Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in the north of the country.
The over a decade long insurgency has claimed 36,000 lives with property worth $9.2 billion (about N3.42 trillion) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
These were disclosed in Maiduguri, by the Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, while lamenting on the ill-equipped Nigerian Army to fight insurgents in the northeast.
Ndume, who represents Borno South senatorial district, said that’ “Even today (Sunday) we hear of attacks here and there.
“I believe that with more commitments, which now coming out from the President’s New Year broadcast, the security situation will improve tremendously by mid-2021″.
In a breakdown of the N675 billion military budget, he said that N500 billion was to procure arms and ammunition, operational fighting equipment. According to him, the Operation Lafiya Dole in the Northeast has earmarked N75 billion for counter-insurgency operations in Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region.
“The earmark of N100 billion, was for the ongoing training of 8,000 soldiers in Zaria and Falgore Forest to match with modern warfare against insurgency.”
While lamenting the ill-equipped army, he said that troops and other special forces on the ground don’t have what it takes to execute the war. He noted that the performances of Nigerian troops in Liberia and Seirra Leone were because of their training, resilience and gallantry.
According to him, the United Nations has been providing the troops with everything; including arms, ammunition and helicopters. “Most of the arms and ammunition used by troops are, however; old and outdated to match Boko Haram weapons.
On the state of insecurity, economy and corruption, he said that there will be tremendous improvements in the security, economy and anti-corruption (SEA) in the country. He noted that since the inception of democracy, there is no government that implemented the budget by 70%; except the Buhari administration.
He said the last budget was implemented by 90% and nobody is talking about it. He attributed budget performances to the government doing the needful to the people. Continuing, he added:
“Those people that ruled this country for 16 years and took us from bad to worse. “We only see the bad side. At last, the sincerity in the purpose of this government; especially the President should be commended.
“But as he said, it is not enough and there were no excuses from the President. “We should speak against the problems of insecurity, recession and corruption,” noting that the problem is a disconnect between the people that are supposed to work for the President and get these programmes done.”
He said the people should speak against the problems of insecurity, economy and corruption. He noted that since the inception of Buhari’s administration, no government has rolled out a programme for the youths.
He attributed it to the kleptocrats in government that continue to frustrate the implementation of policies and programmes. He, therefore, called for the reconstitution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) According to him, the reconstitution will bring the people connected while running their affairs at the grassroots.