Senate panel laments loss of war equipment to terrorists
• Craves adequate funding of military
The Senate Committee on Army has expressed concern over continued loss of combat equipment and platforms by the military in its fight against Boko Haram insurgents.
Chairman of the committee, Ali Ndume, expressed the concern during budget defence by a military high command’s team led by the Chief of Policy and Planning, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun.
Ndume said the depletion of weaponry called for adequate funding of the military to effectively prosecute the war against the terrorists.
According to the panel chairman, the army which could boast of 22 M-Rack platforms donated by international partners against the insurgents, can no longer account for more than five of the equipment because the military platforms for engaging the insurgents had been destroyed by mines during some encounters.
“When you are in a period of war, those equipment or platforms can be counter destroyed by planted mines and all that. We used to have over 22 M-Rack that were given to us by America, but right now, I don’t think we can account for more than five of them because they have been destroyed in the engagement. Therefore, the army needs money to operate effectively,” he said.
The Nigerian Army had presented a budget of N509.66billion, with capital vote of N27.87billion, N20.634billion for overhead while N460.958 is for personnel.
“The army is combating farmers-herders clash, tribal and religious crises. In south-east, there is challenge of IPOB and others, in the south-west, it is other forms of criminalities, and in the south-south, there is the challenge posed by the Avengers even though that one is almost taken care of.
“That amount budgeted is grossly inadequate, especially now that we have challenges everywhere. The Nigerian Army, to my knowledge, is operating in 32 or 33 states of the federation. This requires money that would be used to buy arms and ammunition.
“Last year too, it was the same thing about the budget. We cried out that it was grossly inadequate. The N27 billion as capital allocation for the army in the budget of N13 trillion is inadequate.
“We would look at what you have done so far and what you need and then do the needful and see how we can help ourselves because if the country is not secured then the country is not there,” Ndume said.