The $1 billion approved to fight insurgency and other security challenges has not been released to the military, Nigerian army claimed yesterday.
The cash was approved in 2017 for the President Muhammadu Buhari by the National Economic Council (NEC) to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to strengthen the fight against insurgency.
Fielding questions on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Weekend File programme, army spokesman Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said the money is still being processed.
He said: “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.
“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.”
In April, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said the President’s approval was not final because a draft bill would have to be sent to the National Assembly for consideration.
Brig.-Gen. Usman, however, said that at the moment, what the armed forces have and what have been procured over the last two to three years is being used judiciously.
The strings of Boko Haram attacks on military formations in the northeast have been blamed on the dearth of sufficient equipment.
But, the army spokesman said: “To the best of our abilities, all the necessary equipment, ammunition and arms are being given.”
He expressed sadness over the recent killings of troops, and said legal action would be taken on those fabricating figures around the casualties.
His words: “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.
“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.”