According to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the total amount of money which has on different occasions been released to the Nigerian Army, for them to fight and end the insurgency in the country, sums up to 198.84 billion naira. The sum reads from 2019 till date.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Ministry of Finance Aliyu Shinkafi, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Army in Abuja, yesterday.
The appearance and statement took place, after the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, disclosed and referred to the failure of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to honour invitation to appear before the committee as “unacceptable”.
The Chairman, Ndume expressed deep disappointment that the minister disregarded the invitation of his panel despite the importance of the issue at stake.
In the Chairman’s words: “Honestly, we are not happy that the Minister of Finance is not here today despite the fact that she was duly invited and she knew the importance of the issue we invited her to discuss with us.
“There is nothing that is more important that she could be attending to than the serious problem of insecurity all over Nigeria at the moment.
“We were blaming the military but the soldiers are claiming that they have no equipment, arms and ammunition to work with because there was no money to buy them.
“We have invited the minister now to explain why her ministry was not funding the operations of the Army and she is not here. This is not acceptable.”
Other persons summoned by the committee: Mrs. Ahmed, Director-General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze and the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, are to appear before the committee next Tuesday to explain details of the funds so far released to the Army to fight insurgency, banditry and other forms of insecurity, from 2019 till date.
The Permanent Secretary, Shinkafi, gave details regarding the funds. It was disclosed to the committee that 75 billion naira was appropriated and released to the Army in 2019 while additional 7 billion naira appropriated from the Service Wide Vote was also released 100 per cent.
At another point in 2019, 2.5 billion naira was also released to the Army, bringing the total released in 2019 to 94.5 billion naira.
For the year 2020, Shinkafi revealed that 75 billion naira was appropriated but 74.99 billion naira was released.
In the present year, 2021, 100 billion naira has been appropriated and the Ministry of Finance has released 19.4 billion naira for the first quarter.
According to the Perm sec, “Just yesterday, we released N19.95 billion for the second quarter. I believe that we are on course as far as releases for these operations are concerned.”
Contradicting the Permanent secretary’s claims, Ndume brought out a letter from the Chief of Defence Staff, which stated that the military authorities have issued complaints that they had shortfall as far as releases from the Finance Ministry was concerned.
As said by Ndume, “The letter from the Defence Headquarters on the funding of Operations Lafiya Dole is claiming that they have a shortfall of N50 billion in terms of releases and requested us to do a follow up on the matter.”
Shinkafi insisted that the amount appropriated had been released by the Finance Ministry, causing the committee to insist that the ministry officials come with details of the releases at its next sitting.
Amidst all these funds channeled to the fight against Insurgency and other security shortfalls, many states in the country remain under attack by bandits and terrorists. More efforts are necessary from all security sectors in the nation to generate the much needed peace and stability in Nigeria.