Army Says $1bn Approved To Fight Insurgency Hasn’t Been Released
Army chief Tukur Buratai and some army commanders (file image)

The Nigerian army says it is yet to get $1 billion approved to fight the insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

Concise News reports that the national economic council (NEC) approved the request of the current administration to withdraw $1 billion from the excess crude account (ECA) for the fight against the insurgency in 2017.

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Fielding questions on Weekend File, a news programme on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Army spokesman, Sani Usman, said the money is still being processed.

His words: “People should understand also that this is a democratic system in which procurement and of course funding of defense-related issues takes such a long time,” he said.

“Take for instance the issue of the $1 billion approved recently by Mr. President, up till now the process is ongoing. The ministry of defense is still pursuing the matter to the point that when it is done, the armed forces will definitely get more equipment, more arms and ammunition.”

Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, had said in April that the president’s approval wasn’t final as a draft bill would be sent to the national assembly for consideration.

The Army spokesman, however, said at the moment, what the armed forces have and what has been procured over the last two to three years is being used judiciously.

Recently, Boko Haram insurgents attacked military formations in the north-east, and many had blamed this on lack of sufficient equipment, but Usman said: “to the best of our abilities, all the necessary equipment, ammunition and arms are being given.”

The Army spokesman expressed sadness over the recent killings of troops, and said legal action would be taken on those fabricating figures around the casualties.

“So sad and unfortunate that our troops came under enemy attack on the 18th of last month and we suffered causality as we mentioned. Sadly, we lost 23 gallant officers and men and of course some of them sustained injuries,” he said.

“In respect of the effort, we are trying as much as possible to make sure that first and foremost we give timely and accurate information on all our activities and operations bearing national security concern.

“And then secondly, we have gone a north further to identify where those fake news and fabricated stories are coming from, and definitely our legal department is taking step to make sure that all those involved would be taken to court.

The Army spokesman added that Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, and the hierarchy of the army have been going round to meet with the troops in different locations.