Wike queries how $1billion excess crude fund for army was spent
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has questioned the expenditure of $1 billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to equip the Nigerian Army. His query is coming on the heels of the complaint by the Senate that the N100 billion budget proposal for the Army in the 2020 budget would be grossly inadequate.
Wike spoke during a courtesy visit by Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Army at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.The governor pointed out that the N100 billion allocated to the Army in the 2020 budget is inadequate. He wondered what had happened to the $1 billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to equip the Army. He, however, advised the Nigerian Army to focus on its traditional role of securing the country instead of illegally delving into politics, which according to him has destroyed its image.
Wike also said the neglect of critical areas of constitutional responsibility by the Nigerian Army had negatively affected its ability to perform.“The Army should be sent to where there are serious security infractions. But the reality today is that everyone now has soldiers attached to him or her while the general security of the country suffers. The role of the Army is to defend the territorial integrity of the country and maintain general security. The Army must return to their primary responsibility,” he said.Wike said the Army must channel its resources to where they are needed for the good of the country. According to him, in Rivers State, the Army has been helpful in tackling insecurity and kidnapping.
“The Army has supported us in terms of fighting insecurity and kidnapping. They have worked with other security agencies to improve the security of the state. But they played very negative roles during the elections. The Army was involved in ballot snatching and attempts to subvert the will of Rivers people. The authorities should work hard to change the perception of the Army on the streets,” he said.He said the Rivers State government under his leadership has invested heavily in the Army.
“There is no governor in this country that can challenge the level of support that we have availed the Nigerian Army. We funded the operationalisation of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. I have never turned my back on the Army or any security agency in terms of logistics and funding,” Wike added.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, lauded Wike for supporting the Army to deliver on its mandate.“Port Harcourt is now secure due to the investments of Governor Wike in the security of the state. In collaboration with the security agencies, Governor Wike has been able to restore security to the state. The level of security in Rivers State wouldn’t have been achieved without the support of the governor. If all governors were doing same things in addressing security challenges like Wike, the country would have been better off,” he said. Ndume stated that the N100 billion allocated to the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget would not achieve results, noting that efforts must be geared towards attracting more support for the Army.
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