Authorities of the Nigerian Army, yesterday, raised alarm over the negative impact of inadequate funding for military operations currently going on in the North-East and other parts of the country, noting that the development needed to be addressed urgently. Chief of Accounts and Budget of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Abdullah Muraina disclosed this in Jos, yesterday, even as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Kenneth Minimah who spoke in a similar tone said that ethno-religious crisis and terrorism has left serious financial demand on the Nigeria Army.
The two generals made their remarks during the opening ceremony of the Nigeria Army Finance Corps Warrant Officers/Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Training Week, 2014 holding at the Headquarters of the Infantry Course Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State. Muraina said: “Apart from the limitations of the envelope system, the Nigeria Army is enmeshed in the bureaucratic bottleneck for funding approvals for military operations.
“Currently, budgetary allocation for the military is inadequate to meet the contemporary security challenges and also cater for the welfare of the Nigerian Army. This calls for a review as the increasing speed at which the effects of conflict appear in the operational environment will continue to challenge military commanders”. Consequently Muraina said: “It is our humble appeal that government could evolve other means of funding and supporting military operations other than the normal budgetary allocation.
“Such means include but is not limited to strategic co-operation and liaison with other civil industries for the production of uniforms and other equipment”. He suggested that, “a special operations fund could be included in the defence budget and placed under the control of the Chief of Army Staff for immediate disbursement to the required operation areas”, adding that “our focus is to provide financial management support to the Nigerian Army across the full spectrum of operations during this period of security challenges”.
Explaining the magnitude of the problem, the CAB said: “This year, N4.8billion was allocated for capital projects for the Nigerian Army. Of this amount, because of the security challenges, the army decided to buy ballistic helmets and fragmented jackets (2 items) for 20, 000 soldiers, at a cost of $1500, it will amount to about N3billion. Meanwhile, about nine items are needed for the soldiers”. The COAS, on his part said: “No doubt, you are aware of the increasing wave of socio-political and ethno-religious crisis threatening the nation’s security lately.
This has assumed a higher dimension, witnessing spate of bombings and attacks on vulnerable points and other strategic areas of interest to the country. This has left serious demands on the Nigeria Army resources. “We also know that funding is fundamental to containing security challenges. Success in this pursuit, therefore calls for prudent and efficient management and application of funds. I envision an Army that will effectively manage its available resources to be able to meet contemporary challenges”, he said. About 150 non-commissioned officers are attending the course, expected to end next Friday.