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Defence and Security

Senate investigates budget utilisation by army



Senator Ali Ndume

The Senate said on Wednesday that it had commenced investigation into the Nigerian Army’s utilisation of its 2019, 2020 and 2021 budgets.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, made the disclosure when he led commitee members on oversight of the 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt.

Ndume said the investigation would enable the committee to properly make budgetary allocation for the army in 2022.

According to him, the inspection of projects in barracks and interaction with the army hierarchy would enable the committee to make adjustments in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

“This will enable the committee to know areas that need adjustment, addition and attention, especially now that the 2022 budget is before the National Assembly.

“This oversight function will enable us to allocate what the army will get in 2022 with focus to the security challenges we are facing across the country,” he said.

Ndume said the strength of any nation was determined by the strength of its military and paramilitary agencies, noting that the government would continue to assist them to succeed.

He noted that the army was currently being overstretched due to its engagement in multiple fronts across the country.

“We commend the military and encourage the new guard (service chiefs) to continue with their good works while observing the rules of engagement,” he added.

The senator thanked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, for boosting the morale of troops and condoled with the 6 Division over the death of Maj.-Gen. Olu Irefin.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, commended the committee for its efforts to address the constraints in the army.

“We are happy that most of the interventions have been done especially in the area of equipment that are coming and efforts to improve army barracks.

“We also appreciate the donation of various types of operational vehicles to the army while the COAS has informed us that many more are coming,” he said.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday said it would consider better budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Navy in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

The Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Rep. Yusuf Gadji, gave the assurance whe he led other members of the committee on inspection of projects at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt.

According to him, the navy and NNS Pathfinder had recorded milestone achievements in the execution of projects in its formations and units as budgeted in the 2020 fiscal year.

“We are on oversight to seek feedback from the navy that we superintend over, to enable us to address the concerns and seek ways to improve their operations.

“Going by what we have seen from our inspection of NNS Pathfinder base, we can say that they are doing a good job in the area of contract execution.

“We understand the challenges in this base but we will only assist in budgeting for the primary projects that are more significant due to the meagre resources available,” he said.

Gadji said the National Assembly was currently seeking ways to make the nation’s armed forces self-sufficient in the area of funding.

“To this end, we have two bills before the national assembly, including the Armed Forces Support Fund and the Maritime Security Trust Fund.

“These bills when passed will go a long way to solving the problems associated with funding of our military,” he said.

In a presentation, the Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Abdullahi Ahmed, said the base had destroyed hundreds of illegal refineries, bunkering sites as well as made many arrests in 2021 alone.

He said the successes were recorded with the deployment of swamp buggy machines that completely crushes the illegal refineries, thereby making it impossible for them to be reactivated. (NAN)

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS



Chief of Army Staff
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.


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Defence and Security

Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates



Defence HQ Logo
Defence HQ Logo

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading



Federal House of Representatives
Federal House of Representatives

A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.


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