- Soldiers lamenting lack of weapons to fight insurgents, alleges panel
The Ministry of Finance told the Senate Committee on Army on Thursday that the Federal Government spent N198.84bn to fight terrorism from 2019 till date.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, in the finance ministry, Aliyu Shinkafi, said all the funds appropriated for the war against insurgency had been released to the military authorities.
The Permanent Secretary told the committee that N75bn was appropriated and released in 2019, adding that 7bn was released in 2019.
Shinkafi said N2.5bn was released in 2019 and tagged as ‘administration.’
The Permanent Secretary also told the senators that N75bn was appropriated in 2020 but that N74.99bn was released.
He said, “In the current year, N100bn was appropriated and we have released N19.4bn for the first quarter.
“Just yesterday (Wednesday), we released N19.95bn for the second quarter,” he added.
Ndume however, brought out a letter from the Chief of Defence Staff where he said the military authorities complained that they had shortfall of N50bn as far as releases from the Finance Ministry was concerned.
Ndume expressed dissatisfaction with the non appearance of the Minister at the meeting.
He therefore asked the committee’s secretariat to summon her, alongside the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze; and the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru for Tuesday.
Ndume said, “Honestly, we are not happy that the Minister of Finance is not here today despite the fact that she was duly invited and she knew the importance of the issue we invited her to discuss with us.
“We were blaming the military but the soldiers are claiming that they have no equipment, arms and ammunition to work with because there was no money to buy them.
“We have invited the minister now to explain why her ministry was not funding the operations of the Army and she is not here. This is not acceptable.”
The committee also asked the ministry officials to come back next Tuesday with details of the releases made from 2019.