Nigeria At War — Gbajabiamila

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The Speaker of the House of Repre­sentatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Nigeria is at war against insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping and all man­ner of insecurity.

He also said record has shown that only nine percent of the total budgetary allocation to the Nigeri­an Armed Forces is spent on equip­ment.

Gbajabiamila made this known at a public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund (Es­tablishment) Bill, organised by the House Committee on Defence on Monday in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila said that ap­propriation records show that about 91 percent of the current funding of the Armed Forces is spent on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare.

“This bill seeks to provide an injection of additional capi­tal funding for the Armed Forc­es of Nigeria at a crucial time in our nation.

“I am sure many of you will wonder why the Armed Forces of Nigeria need an additional financial injection at this time.

“The fact based on appro­priation records is that about 91 percent of the current fund­ing to the Armed Forces go on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare, leaving only nine percent for capital purchases.

“This reality has prompted this 9th House of Representa­tives to seek a way of providing funds that will be focused on the capital needs and training of our Armed Forces,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said that the importance of the bill is evi­denced by the dwindling re­sources available to the Armed Forces of Nigeria to prosecute the various security operations it is involved in.

According to him, this requires innovative ideas to raise additional funds without placing any burden on Nigeri­ans, in support of the Nigerian military.

Gbajabiamila said that Ni­geria’s expenditure on military hardware and training in the last five years hovers around a paltry nine to 11 percent of bud­getary allocation to the Armed Forces.

He said that it is grossly incapable of empowering the military to face the security challenges in the country es­pecially the insurgency in the North-East.

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Gbajabiamila said that to succeed in the fight against in­security, the Armed Forces of Nigeria required more fund­ing for modern weapons and required trainings.

He said that spending on military hardware must defi­nitely increase to support the zeal and commitment already being exhibited by the soldiers.

The speaker said the bill is a time limited endeavour to upgrade the equipment infrastructure of the Armed Forces.

According to him, “if Nige­ria must develop, we need to get our security estate right by ensuring that our military is adequately equipped and well-trained; this requires funding which cannot be sourced sole­ly through the annual budget provisions.”

Gbajabiamila said that during war times, countries do not fund their military through regular appropriation alone as seen in the United States, Unit­ed Kingdom and all Western powers who engages in extra budgetary funding.

“Nigeria is at war against insurgency, terrorism, kidnap­ping and all manner of insecu­rity; hence the need to uplift the resources available to our armed services to enable them procure the best tools to help win this war.

“So, what we seek to do in this bill is not new or unique to us as a nation; the solution to our security challenges requires asymmetric actions across many policy areas. This is what we have tried to do as the representatives of the peo­ple.

“The concept of a trust fund already exists for the Nigerian police; it only makes sense to also bolster our military ca­pability as well through this unique vehicle,” he said.

In his remarks, Chairman, House, House Committee on Defence, Benson Babajimi (APC-Lagos), said that the bill seeks to explore alternative sources of funding for the armed forces.

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