Say votes low in 2019 budget
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Twenty-four after the leadership of the House of Representatives met with the nation’s military chiefs and other security heads, the parliament has asked the federal government to increase funding for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations of the military.
The House said that the financial vote in the 2019 national budget was minimally increased from what obtained the previous years.
Members of the House made the call after considering and adopting a motion titled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Prioritize Funding of Counter-Insurgency Operations Going on in the Country moved by Hon. Satomi Ahmed who represents Jere Federal Constituency of Borno State at Tuesday plenary.
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Moving the motion, the lawmaker noted that the budgetary allocation for the security sector from 2014 has not met the need of the armed forces to completely stamp out terrorism in the northeast and other parts of the country.
According to him, there were many counterterrorism operations across the six geopolitical zones which needed funding.
He expressed doubts that Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast have been defeated, saying they still wielded superior firepower.
He said: “The House notes the general state of insecurity in the country ranging from insurgency, militancy, banditry, herdsmen-farmers clashes, cattle rustling, pipeline vandalism to hooliganism, cultism and extrajudicial killings
“Also notes that the Nigerian Armed Forces are carrying out various operations and counterinsurgency initiatives aimed at combating terrorism, deadly herdsmen, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, oil thieves, pipeline vandals, armed robbery across the country
“Aware that such operations exist in all the six geopolitical zones of the country, Operation Lafia Dole is being carried out in the Northeast. It handles the overall counterterrorism band counterinsurgency operations with expanded scope, scale and depth comprising three divisions and more than five states dovetailing into other specialized operations like Operations Crackdown, Operation Gama Aiki, and Operation Safe Corridor;
“Also aware of several counter-insurgency operations of the Armed Forces including operation safe haven, operation Sharan Deji, Operation Harbin Kunama, Operation Delta Safe (formerly Operation Pull Shield), Operation Crocodile Smile, Operation Tsare Teku, Operation Awatse, Operation Iron Fence, Operation Mesa, Operation Safe Conducts, Operation Quick Response Squad, Operation 777, Operation Whirle Punch
“Further aware that since the inception of the current administration, the security budget of the nation comprising allocations for the.ministry of defence, ministry of interior and office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is structured to address internal security threats including threat to oil installations, Boko Haram, kidnappings, Niger Delta militancy, armed robbery, herdsmen-farmers clashes, cattle rustlers, pipeline vandalism, intertribal clashes, cultism, extortion and hooliganism, religious clashes and tensions, piracy and extrajudicial killing
“Observes that budget allocation for the security sector was 932 billion Naira in 2014, 969 billion Naira in 2015, 1.063 trillion in 2016, 1.142 trillion Naira in 2017, 1.323 trillion Naira in 2018 and has minimally increased the security votes in the 2019 budget
“Also observes that the policy framework guiding the Federal Government’s security budget decision is to ensure that security operatives are properly equipped and well-motivated to combat insurgency, reintegrate Internally Displaced Persons and rebuild communities which have been adversely affected by the insurgency especially in the North East.
“Concerned about the daily reported cases officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces being killed by the insurgents and Boko Haram in Borno State and other parts of the North East.
“Worried by the rate at which men of the armed forces fighting insurgency in the North East lose their lives as six soldiers including a Colonel were recently reported killed in an ambush by the Boko Haram insurgents.
“Also worried that the Nigerian Armed Forces are still not well armed compared to the firepower of the Boko Haram insurgents.
“Cognisance of the claim by the Federal Government that Boko Haram has been technically defeated having reclaimed all the 14 Local Government Areas initially controlled by the insurgents in Borno State.
“Acknowledged the urgent need to properly fund the counter-insurgency operations in the country to be timely and on target taking into account the welfare needs and challenges of the men at the front lines and their families.”
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Defence to ensure that the appropriated funds are judiciously applied to security needs.”