Defence Minister’s lamentation
THE Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, has lamented that Nigeria’s military is too understaffed and underfunded to tackle the various security challenges facing the country. He made this lamentation while briefing journalists after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting where he said he had made a presentation on the security challenges facing the country. According to him, “We talked about manpower shortage, inadequate funding for the Ministry of Defence. We talked about all the operations we have been conducting, the successes and failures of each of the operations right from Operation Lafia Dole to Operation Tawase…I think in no distant time, there will be a change in the conduct of our affairs in the Ministry of Defence.”
It is not clear what the press briefing was supposed to achieve. Does the minister want Nigerians to prevail on the FEC to address the situation or is it a justification to further increase the budgetary allocation to the defence sector? If the military is short of manpower, was the minister not expected to have explained the reasons for the situation to the FEC and provide options for addressing it? Despite his claim of low funding for the military, the defence sector has for the past five years taken a large chunk of Nigeria’s budget, often larger than education and health. Over eight per cent of the 2020 budget, which is about to be amended, was allocated to defence. This is about N878 billion of the 10.59 trillion budget. About a year ago, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of $1 billion to boost the military’s efforts in the ongoing counter-terrorism battle against Boko Haram. The issue is that the penchant for officials of the Ministry of Defence and military leaders to complain about shortage of funds has not been matched by concern about waste and corruption in the military. Evidently, without addressing issues of corruption and mismanagement, the defence sector will become a sinkhole for public funds.
A report by the African Centre for Strategic Studies and similar studies by scholars have shown that there is a culture of impunity in the military with regard to the management of resources. The series of investigations by the current government, by special committees or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the operations of the defence sector have also buttressed this view. These have revealed that the military usually buys refurbished equipment or cannibalizes existing systems for parts. Arms and equipment are “budgeted and paid for, but they never get to the frontlines either because they are diverted to the black market or because the money actually goes into a procurer’s pockets.” Time and again, the rank and file on the frontlines complain of inadequate training, poor living conditions, poor equipment or pay. There have been several cases where allowances of military men on the frontlines have been diverted by officers, leading to low morale within the rank and file. The hollowness of the military as a result of these deplorable culture of mismanaging military finance has manifested in its poor performance in addressing the security challenges of the country, especially the Boko Haram insurgency.
We call on the Minister of Defence, the leadership of the military and the Presidency to begin to address the issues of accountability and financial management in the military. There is a need to re-professionalise the military with strong oversight, administration and accountability across the entire defence sector. The presidency must monitor and evaluate the capacity of the military and encourage local production of basic military items. It is not news that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has not justified the huge resources invested in it. Curbing corruption and improving accountability requires that officials that were indicted in previous probes be sanctioned. The EFCC should be given a stronger mandate to investigate corruption in the defence sector while the National Assembly strengthens its oversight activities within the defence ministry and the administration of the armed forces.
Furthermore, the problems of the defence sector cannot be addressed in isolation. This is the case because of developments in the nature of the security challenges which call for greater collaboration between the military and other security agencies. A clearly defined and comprehensive framework for strengthening national security and cooperation among all security agencies is necessary to ensure synergy. Part of the problem is that the military is overexposed to police duties and this overexposure has confounded its readiness for its primary duty as an effective and decisive defence instrument.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Buhari Expresses Shock Over Boko Haram’s Attack On Gubio
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep shock at Boko Haram’s attack on Gubio village, Borno State in which the terrorists killed many people. A statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday night by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) said as news of “one the most brutal terrorist… Read full story
Foreign Herdsmen: No Law Stopping Cross-Border Movements ― FG
Despite the menace posed by foreign herdsmen, the Federal Government has said that there are currently no laws preventing cross-border movements. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who stated this on Wednesday at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, however… Read full story
Police Arrest Man For Raping 40 Women In Kano
The Police Command in Kano State has arrested a 32-year-old man, Muhammad Alfa, for allegedly raping 40 women in the past one year in the state. The Spokesman of the Command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed the arrest in a statement on Wednesday in Kano… Read full story
I Have No Problem With Makinde ― Alaafin
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Wednesday, said he held no grudge against Governor Seyi Makinde. There had been insinuations that Oba Adeyemi had ill-feeling towards Makinde following the recent siting of a mobile police force squadron in Ago-Are, Oke-Ogun area of the state… Read full story
Africa’s COVID-19 Cases Over 200,000 ― WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Africa are more than 200,000. The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, gave the update on its official twitter handle @WHOAFRO… Read full story
UPDATE: FEC To Initiate Tougher Action Against Rapists
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has announced that more decisive action is to be taken against rapists henceforth as the government has expressed worries about the upsurge in the menace. This followed a presentation by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, to the council meeting presided over… Read full story
Nigeria, India, DR Congo Home To Over 33% Of World’s Poorest, Says World Bank
The World Bank has said that more than a third of the world’s poorest people live in Nigeria, India and Democratic Republic of Congo, even as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes about 100 million people into extreme poverty. Those who live on less than $1.90 per day are categorised as being in extreme poverty… Read full story
COVID-19: Kogi Directs Workers On Levels 01-10 To Resume
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has directed civil servants on Salary Grade Levels 01-10 to return to work on June 15. The directive was contained in a statement issued in Lokoja on Wednesday by the state Head of Service, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola… Read full story
Another Death In Aso Rock As Aisha Buhari Loses Protocol Officer
Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, on Wednesday, announced that she lost a protocol officer, Sani Yekini, after battling with diabetes. Aisha, who made the announcement in a tweet on her official Twitter handle, described Yekini who has been working with her for four years as “a very committed… Read full story
COVID-19: Senator Ndume Advocates Part-Time Status For Lawmakers, Reduction In Salary
Senator representing Borno south and Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, has advocated part-time status for lawmakers in the country due to the dwindling effect of COVID-19. In a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday, the lawmaker who sought for the office of Senate President last… Read full story
N2.2bn Land Scam: Deposed Emir Sanusi Appeals Judgment
The deposed Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Wednesday, appealed a judgment delivered by a Federal High Court dismissing his right of fair hearing against the Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission. Counsels to the emir, Messrs Dikko and Mahmoud, filed the appeal on Wednesday… Read full story
Orange Juice Excellent For Tooth Disorders, Heart Diseases —Experts
THE orange contains a variety of health-promoting properties. The fruit is a rich source of protective food ingredients like vitamin A, B, C and calcium. Recent studies have proven its superiority to any other fruit as a source of calcium. The orange also contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, sulphur and chlorine… Read full story
EDITORIAL: The Story Of Majek Fashek
BY the time he died on June 1, aged 57, Majekodunmi Faseke, or simply Majek Fashek to his distraught fans all over the world, had lived his life to full circle. Of course, he was not an old man, but he had arguably seen it all. From the low, deprived, humble beginnings of childhood and the boisterous struggling years of adolescence to the peak of prominence and global fame, then back to the ebb of existence, Majek Fashek had seen it all. Not many older persons could claim to have fumbled and tumbled through life than the man fondly referred to as the Rainmaker… Read full story