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The funding of the military, especially the ongoing counter-insurgency

operation, is generating heated controversy especially over who

handles the money allocated to the military as both the Ministry of

Defence (MOD) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA)

have denied handling the money.

 

While the MOD has washed its hands off the expenditure of the

military, the ONSA, too, has done the same but the some officials of

the former have faulted the ONSA’s claim.

 

A critical section of the populace has been asking questions about the

funding of the ongoing counter-insurgency operation which involves the

military and all the security agencies such as the Defence

Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and

the Department of the State Security Services (DSS).

 

The controversy came to the open when our sister publication,

LEADERSHIP Weekend, in a story published in its last edition quoted a

ministry source alleging that the Ministry of Defence was not involved

in the funding of the operation. The story further disclosed that the

Presidency dealt directly with service chiefs.

 

Checks reveal that Nigeria is not among the leading countries in

Defence budgeting. Egypt spends $4billion (35 million manpower),

Ethiopia $300 (34 million manpower), South Africa $5million (14

million manpower), Nigeria $2.2billion (73 million manpower), Algeria

$8billion (20 million manpower), Kenya $5billion (20 million manpower)

and Libya $880 million (3 million manpower).

 

Another MOD official, who corroborated the story, explained that the

funding of the counter insurgency operation is being handled by the

Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). According to him, the

MOD’s involvement in the funding of the military is on paper, not

 

“It is on paper that the military receives its fund through the MOD;

that may have to do with the overheads but when you are talking of the

real funding of the ongoing counter-insurgency operation, the vote is

allocated to the Office of the National Security Adviser.

 

This is why the ministry is not aware of the purchase of any

ammunition or any other thing that is needed for the operation. Some

soldiers, SSS and policemen and officers have just left the country

and going for the counter-insurgency training in a country near

Germany. The MOD is not aware of it. Whatever they need is channelled

to the NSA and all we are told is that some officers are travelling to

 

“You go and see what the NSA’s vote or allocation is and what it

contains in the budget. You will see that the Police, the Immigration,

Civil Defence Corps, NIA, DIA, DSS is on the list; this should not be

so. The NSA should be shielded and protected in all of these. In the

area of purchasing, who is in charge of the due process, verification,

qualities, standardisation, etc? By implication, ministries of

Interior, Defence, and the Police Affairs are not directly involved in

their capital expenditure, and the question is, who accounts for their

purchases? What we are saying is that, each of these ministries – not

only the MOD, should be deeply involved in all their transactions for

accountability.”

 

Reacting to a story published by TELL magazine, the ONSA, in a

statement issued and signed by the Special Adviser to the NSA on Media

and Publicity, Mr Karounwi Adekunle, denied ever being involved in the

funding of the military as reported.

 

He said: “Our attention has been drawn to the false and misleading

story published in TELL magazine of June 2, 2014, alleging that “for

some years now, defence funds have been under the management of the

National Security Adviser instead of the Ministry of Defence where the

funds were traditionally administered”.

 

“We state, clearly and unambiguously, that ONSA is separate from MOD

in all budgetary affairs. The ONSA defends its budgets before the

National Assembly and MOD does for its own. All budgetary provisions

are clearly spelt out and within the public domain. ONSA has no

responsibility for military personnel’s salaries and allowances,

capital projects or otherwise. All are within the domain of MOD. So,

how can the ONSA be accused of managing defence funds?“We request

that, for any allegation from any source about ONSA, please recourse

be made to the NSA for his own side of the story before publishing.

There is need for a holistic and balanced report at all times.”

 

While some people argue that the military is being poorly funded, some

disagree but argue that the money passed by the National Assembly is

being diverted or withheld by the Presidency. Some even argue that

military purchases some refurbished ammunition as a result of poor

funding or mismanagement of the money allocated to it.

 

A military source claimed that most of the contractors given jobs are

recommended by the National Assembly members and the officials of the

 

“If they are saying we are poorly funded, they should ask the National

Assembly and the Presidency those questions. How much do they allocate

to us yearly, and since the National Assembly performs oversight

functios over our spending, the members also have roles to play here.

But if you want to hear the truth, most of our contractors are

recommended by the National Assembly and the Presidency. But whatever

we have will be well managed to perform our constitutional

responsibilities,” he source.

 

The leadership of the opposition has been consistently calling on the

National Assembly, which performs oversight function on the military

and other security agencies, to look into their books because they

believe the military is failing in the prosecution of the war against

terror because of poor funding or mismanagement of the fund or both.

 

For the 2014 fiscal year, the federal government allocated the sum of

N968.13 billion to security and defence agencies in the country.

 

This allocation indicates a marginal increase of 1.36 per cent over

the N955.46 billion allocated to these agencies in 2013.

 

Minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Dr Ngozi

Okonjo-Iweala, while giving a breakdown of the budget last week, said

that the N968.13 billion was for all Defence agencies, including the

Army, Navy Air Force, the police, as well as the ministry of interior

which also includes the Civil Defence.

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