As the nation’s insecurity continues to dominate public discourses on Nigeria’s political stability and economic growth by the day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday said that only 9 percent of yearly appropriations to the Armed Forces are committed to capital expenditures with the balance being used for recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare.
The Speaker, who spoke based on appropriation records in the National Assembly, lamented the low capital expenditures by the armed forces, particularly as the country continued to contend with
insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping and all manner of insecurity on a lethal scale.
To tackle insecurity headlong, he canvassed the need to improved resources for the Armed Forces.
Gbajabiamila, who made these remarks in his keynote address at a one-day public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Establishment Bill 2021 held in Abuja, hinted that the House would next week organize a five-day special summit on national security for the purposes of examining extensively non-military solutions to the nation’s insecurity.
The Speaker, who was represented by the House Leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa, said the current insecurity realities necessitated the lawmakers’ on February 27, 2021, to address the funding needs of the Armed Forces by passing for second reading a Bill to create a special support fund for the Armed Forces.
According to him, available data showed that Nigeria’s expenditure on military hardware and training over the past five years range between nine to 11 per cent of the total annual budgetary allocation to the Armed Forces.
Gbajabiamila described the allocation as grossly inadequate to win the war against insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North-East region
He expatiated: ”The solution to our security challenges requires asymmetric actions across many policy areas. To succeed in this fight, the Armed Forces of Nigeria requires more funding for modern weapons and required trainings. Spending on military hardware must definitely increase to support the zeal and commitment already being exhibited by our soldiers.
“The Armed Forces Support Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2021 is a time limited endeavour to upgrade the equipment infrastructure of the Armed Forces in a deliberate manner that will better position them to be more effective in securing the nation.
”The myriad of security challenges facing the country has continued to dwarf every developmental effort put in by the government. No nation develops in a state of insecurity as currently being witnessed in Nigeria. This Bill has been crafted in ways that does not impose any direct additional burden on Nigerian citizens and businesses, but creatively make funds available through deductions from statutory receipts of the federal government as well as voluntary donations.
“I am happy to support this Bill because it will help reposition our military capabilities in ways that can only strengthen our national security. I agree that the solutions to our insecurity as a nation will not only be by military powers alone; but also, by non-military engagement and development of our communities”, the speaker added
In his remarks at the forum, the sponsor of the Bill and Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Hon. Babajimi Benson, said the need for additional sources of funding for the Armed Forces had become more imperative considering the growing security challenges in the country.