NIGERIA’S chief of army staff Lt General Farouk Yahaya has appealed to the National Assembly to resist the urge to slash its budget this year despite the tough economic times as the military needs every extra penny it can get to fight terrorism and insecurity.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on the Army to defend the 2022 budget, General Yahaya told the panel that the sum of N579bn approved for the Nigerian Army for the 2022 fiscal year was grossly inadequate to fight terrorism and banditry in the country. He pointed out that that the federal government needs to exempt the military from the annual envelope budgeting being adopted by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning.
General Yahaya said: “In preparing for year 2022 budget, the Nigerian Army proposed about the sum of N710bn. However, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning budget ceiling reduced it to N579bn.
“This reduction would impede the capacity and tempo of the Nigerian Army in carrying out its constitutional duties particularly the ongoing war against Boko Haram terrorists and other criminalities across the country. The National Assembly should prevail on the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to exempt the Nigerian Army from the current budget ceiling or envelope allocation system.
“I therefore passionately appeal to this Senate committee to impress it on the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to begin the release of year 2022 Nigerian Army capital budget from the first quarter of 2022. This would help the Nigerian Army to rehabilitate dilapidated accommodations in over 138 barracks and training facilities across our units, and formations as well as procure the needed equipment and platforms to prosecute the war against terrorism and other criminalities across the country.”
Furthermore, the army chief urged the senate panel to approve the sum of N642.7bn as the Nigerian Army personnel emolument for the 2022 budget. He also requested the approval of N29.6bn as overhead costs and N37.6bn as capital expenditure, assuring the panel that the Nigerian Army was committed to securing the territorial integrity of the country from any violation.
General Yahaya added: “The timely and complete implementation of the 2022 budget will thus enhance the fulfilment of the Nigerian Army’s constitutional mandate and thus engender peace for socio-economic development of our country Nigeria.”
He said the Covid-19 pandemic affected global socio-economic activities including Nigeria, adding that the attendant negative consequences allowed insecurity to fester. Furthermore, he also said he recognised the need to boost the morale of the soldiers and that he had been doing so regularly.