21 January 2019

Nigeria: B/Haram - Troops' Alleged Poor Conditions Intolerable - - Bakare

Lagos — Serving Overseer, the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor 'Tunde Bakare, says with relatively huge allocations to the defence ministry, the allegations that the troops fighting insurgency operate under poor conditions are intolerable and disturbing.

Bakare, in a state of the nation broadcast in his church in Lagos yesterday, urged that the allegations be thoroughly investigated and acted upon.

"Between 2008 and 2018, N6trn has been allocated to the Federal Ministry of Defence. Between 2012 and 2014, it received a whopping 19.9% of the total budget on average. Under the current administration, defence has received a significant percentage of the annual budget. "In 2016, for instance, the ministry was allocated N443bn out of N6.06trn; in 2017, N469.8bn out of N7.44trn; and in 2018, N576.4bn out of N9.12trn. In 2017, N6.8bn was budgeted for defence equipment; while Operation Lafiya Dole and other operations of the armed forces received N78bn. With these relatively huge allocations, even with average budget performance, the allegations that our soldiers fight under poor conditions are intolerable.

"Even more disturbing is the 2017 investigative report that soldiers in the theatre of war lack basic necessities such as food, uniforms and footwear despite the fact that a portion of their wages is questionably deducted as feeding allowance. These reports, in addition to the 2018 protests by soldiers deployed in the theatre of war, give cause for concern especially against the backdrop of the recent resurgence of the terrorists", he said.

Bakare urged the military to prove it was fully equipped to prosecute the terrorism war, "not just by attempting to win the propaganda war, but by winning on the actual warfront."

He also urged the Federal Government to set up what it called Presidential Commission on National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring.

He also urged the government to approach the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged non-declaration of assets, "without bias, in the interest of justice and accountability, with the objective of institution building and in the spirit of the New Nigeria.

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