NEWS

Army failed to tackle insecurity despite N1tn allocation – Security experts

By Johnson Ubong

Thursday May 6, 2021

Security experts on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, had said that the Nigerian Army had failed to efficiently tackle security challenges in the country despite the huge fund it received in the last two years.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Zainab Ahmed, had told the Senate Committee on Army on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, that a total of N1,008.84tn was released to the Army between January 2019 and April 2021.

Ahmed, who was summoned based on complaints by the Nigerian Army that it had outstanding N50bn to collect from the ministry which was part of the budgetary provision to fight terrorism, had said the Army got more than budgetary provision during the period under review.

However, a security risk management and intelligence specialist, Kabir Adamu, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the Nigerian Army had so far failed in its mandate despite the money released to it.

Adamu added that the country witnessed more cases of banditry, terrorism and kidnapping during the period.

He said, “What was the mandate given to them? Is it not to contain insurgency? Unfortunately, they have not justified it. If their mandate was also to curb banditry, they have not been able to do that.

“But in the Nigeria security architecture, there are no clear key performance indicators to allow non-insider to monitor and evaluate them. The only measure we have is how insecurity affects us; we have witnessed more kidnappings, banditry, and terrorism. The conclusion is that they have not justified the money given to them.”

Another security expert, Nnamdi Anekwe, in a separate interview with our correspondent, said the Nigerian Army had not been able to defend the nation’s territory and also failed to protect the population.

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He stated that there had been controversy on the utilisation of the fund.

He said, “Let me remind you that there has been back and forth between the Ministry of Defence and previous service chiefs on the utilisation of this money.

“It was reported that some of the monies have been used to procure arms but the current service chiefs have said they lacked weapons. They have not been able to defend our territory and have also not protected the population.”

But Col. Hassan Stan-Labo (retd.), a security specialist, said the N1tn was not enough, describing it as a drop in the ocean.

Stan-Labo described the defence sector as a capital-intensive venture, stressing that the neglect of the sector in the past years had created a vacuum which made the funding by the Ministry of Finance insufficient.

He said, “The defence sector has been neglected for too long by being starved of adequate fund and well-equipped inventory. This got this long because as a nation, we are not security-conscious. Even under this dispensation, you can see that there is no seriousness.”

The Army did not respond to request for details of the spending on hardware on Wednesday.

The Army’s spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, has yet to respond to a message sent to him on the matter as of the time of filing this report.

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