Senate

By Henry Umoru

THE Senate has said that repeated cases of armed banditry, insurgency, killings, kidnapping and wanton destruction of property were responsible for the reason  Army barracks across the country were in deplorable states.

According to the Senate, the poor state of Army barracks across the country may not be addressed fully if the ongoing wars against insurgency and banditry continued.

Speaking with journalists yesterday after the Senate Committee   on Army visited some military formations in Plateau and Bauchi states to carry out some oversight activities, Chairman of the committee,   Senator   Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) said money that ought to have been channeled towards fixing the barracks were being paid as allowances to the personnel  participating in the wars against insurgency and banditry.

He, however, said  efforts would be made by the two chambers of the National Assembly to ensure that more money was appropriated for the renovation of old barracks as well as possible construction of new ones.

Ndume said: “We went on oversight activities to see the conditions of the barracks as well as assess the implementation of the 2021 budget of the Army regarding some capital projects.

‘’We assessed the implementation of the 2021 budget meant for the renovation of old structures in the barracks and the new ones being built.

“We are impressed about the quality of the jobs done and the speed at which they are being delivered, The condition of the barracks is deplorable. The perimeter fencing, the road network and the walls of the buildings are all dilapidated and they need a complete rehabilitation or even reconstruction

“The Nigerian Army is involved in activities that are not its primary responsibilities.  The Army is combatant and is used to fighting conventional wars.

“They are now involved in duties that should ordinarily be handled by the police or other security agencies. Despite that, the Nigerian Army is doing its best.

“Too much funds are going into the various operations, especially with the insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West and instances of farmers – herders clashes as well as other tribal crisis.

“It is unfortunate that the Nigerian Army, for a long time, has not been properly taken care of. The condition of the barracks is bad because they are not being maintained, while much money is going into operations.

“The money needed to fix the barracks   is enormous and government should approve more funds to the Nigerian Army.

“There are no new barracks being built and the existing ones are not being maintained.  The army is engaged in various operations and the non-regular allowances that are being paid is enormous.

“So much money is going into the payment of allowances that could have been avoided if the nation is at peace. Such money would have been used to fix the barracks.”

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