By Raphael Ekpang
The Senate Committee chairman on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, on Wednesday said the Nigerian Army is being “grossly” underfunded by the Nigerian government
While addressing newsmen shortly after the budget defence by the Nigerian Army at National Assembly, Abuja, Ndume said there is need for a significant increase in the budget for the Military, while calling on authorities concerned to also make the fund available on time, saying, the procurement process of Army takes longer time than other procurement circles in the budgetary system.
The lawmaker lamented that monies meant for procuring arms and ammunition are not regularly released.
On the 2020 budget performance, Ndume said, The money that was supposed to be given to them to buy equipment, buy arms and ammunition, procure certain kitting for them, only 64% of that money was released.
“In fact, on top of that, it was 50% that was released in July. The second batch of it was released this week.
“Nigeria is at war, the whole of Nigeria Army budget is about $1.3m. That’s at the level of Niger, Chad, Sudan and other poor countries”, Ndume said.
He said, even with the little budget being proposed by the executive, there was “no guarantee that this money will be released 100%” to the Army.
Ndume further stated that because of the underfunding by the Army the bandits they are combating are more equipped than the Army.
Ndume who represents Borno South at the Red Chamber, had just rounded up an oversight tour on some Army establishments across the country with his Committee on Army.
The lawmaker observed that, “The difference between Nigerian Army and the bandits is that they (Army) are trained and also wear uniforms.
“Some of the bandits operate with AK49, the latest AKs, while the Army are still using AK47”.
He said even the bandits have devised means of getting the Army uniforms so they could disguise themselves as Nigeria’s military personnel.
“Section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria says, the purpose of every government is security and welfare of the citizens”, stressing that, the budget of the country should principally tackle insecurity,” Ndume concluded.