The Senate Committee on Army has said that the Nigerian Army should be adequately funded to continue the war against the Boko Haram insurgent that has depleted its equipment and platforms.
Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume said this during the ongoing session by the Military high command led by Lieutenant General, Lamidi Adeosun, Chief of Policy and Planning.
While expressing its dissatisfaction over the continued loss of combat equipment and platforms by the military in its fight against the Boko Haram insurgent, Senator Ndume said such deplete of weaponry by the Army calls for more funding.
Ndume said the Army which could boast of 22 M-Rack platforms donated by international partners against the insurgent cannot account for more than five M-Rack platforms because the military platforms, for engaging the insurgents, had been destroyed by mines during some encounters.
He said the federal government must, as a matter of national security, provide the Army with more funding for its budget which the committee considers insignificant to the security challenges at hand.
The Army had presented a budget of N509.66bn with a Capital budget proposal of N27.87bn, N20.634bn for overhead while N460.958 is proposed for personnel.
He said the Army is present in various theatre across the country where it is operating in the fields to combat insecurity in one form or the other, hence the need to boost her capital budget to meet her constitutional mandate of securing the lives, property and territorial integrity of Nigeria.
His words: “The Army is combating Farmers Clash, tribal and religious crisis, there in southeast challenges of IPOB and others, in the Southwest other forms of criminalities and south-south challenges we have with the Avenger even though that one is almost taken care of.
I want to say to the public for the Nigerian public that I feel maybe this is my own position, but I believe my colleagues in this committee and in the Senate also will agree with me that in a budget of N13trn and in a period of war, you can’t budget less than N30 billion for the Nigerian Army.
“That amount budgeted is grossly inadequate especially now that we have challenges everywhere, Nigerian Army, to my knowledge is operating in 32 or 33 states of the federation.
“All this requires money and with that kind of capital and that means that it is that money that would be used to buy ammunitions arms, you know other equipment to carry out their operations especially when you are in the period of War that equipment or platforms that in most cases, encountered destroyed by planted mines and all that.
“Like if you used to have M-Rack over 22 of there was I think given to us by America or something. I don’t know general, you know better, but now I don’t think we can account for five of them because they have been destroyed in the engagement and therefore the Army needs money to operate effectively,
This committee will have to be convinced about what you need and what is needed for so that we can from the background of Knowledge from the information and what we have seen would be able to support that position
“Last year too. It was the same thing about the budget, we cried out that it was grossly inadequate. And therefore this is one of the first things that you go out with that you Committee of the Senate and I think I have your endorsement Colleagues Senators, that N27 billion as capital for the Army in the budget of N13trn is inadequate.
“Having said that, we would look at what you have done so far and what you need and then do the needful and see how we can help ourselves because it’s not like helping the Nigerian Army now because if the country is not secured then the country is not there.
“Besides the Constitution is very clear. It clearly says that the main purpose of government security and welfare of the citizens, we cannot do that, you know, you wear the shoes and you know where it itches you more you have to open up to the committee. Tell us your problem defend what you have done before so that we can stand with you and we can talk anywhere from the background of knowledge, Ndume said.