23 May 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Nigerian Army Complains of Inadequate Funding

Photo: State House
President Jonathan hands in budget (file photo).

The Nigerian Army has attributed its inability to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency to dearth of funds.

Abdullahi Muraina disclosed this, Wednesday, at the opening of the 2014 training week of Nigerian Army Finance Corps for Warrant Officer/Senior Non-Commissioned Officers in Jaji, Kaduna State.

"Currently, budgetary allocation for the military is inadequate to meet the contemporary security challenges and also cater for the welfare of the Nigerian Army," said Mr. Muraina, a Major General and Nigerian Army's Chief of Account and Budget.

"The Nigerian Army is enmeshed in the bureaucratic bottlenecks for the funding approvals for military operations. This calls for a review as the increasing speed at which the effects of conflict appear in the operational environment will continue to challenge commanders.

"It is our humble appeal that government should evolve other means of funding and supporting military operations than the normal budgetary allocation.

"Such means include but not limited to strategic cooperation and liaison with other civil industries for the production of uniforms and other equipment," he added.

The federal government had earmarked security budgets of N922 billion, N1 trillion, and N845 billion in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively.

Mr. Muraina, however, called for a review of the template for funding of the military, due to the current security challenges.

"We are not oblivious of the constraints on revenue generation and the fact that government has so many other responsibilities.

"For instance, the army budget for this year is just N4.8 billion. Now, to provide only one item for the troops engaged in the operation in the North-east will gulp most of the amount," Mr. Muraina said.

"Assuming we committed 20,000 troops, the jacket and the helmet is in the average of about US$1,000, if you change that to naira, it is about N150,000. If you now have about 20,000 troops, this means they are going to spend about US$20 million and that is about N3 billion.

"N3 billion as a percentage of N4.8 billion which is the capital budget for this year is more than 50 per cent and that is just one item; we are not talking about uniforms, we are not talking about boots, we are not talking about structure where they will stay, we are not talking about training, because training is key to enhancing the capability of the force", he added.

The Nigerian military has been criticised locally and internationally on its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Within the military, junior officers have also accused their superiors of poor management leading to the death of several soldiers to the insurgents.

Earlier in May, soldiers of the Army 7 Division in Maiduguri shot at the vehicle carrying their General Officer Commanding, GOC, to protest a military order that led to the death of about 12 soldiers in a Boko Haram ambush.

The GOC has since been redeployed while the mutinous soldiers are being investigated.

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