Senate investigates budget utilisation by army




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The Senate said on Wednesday that it had commenced investigation into the Nigerian Army’s utilisation of its 2019, 2020 and 2021 budgets.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, made the disclosure when he led commitee members on oversight of the 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt.

Ndume said the investigation would enable the committee to properly make budgetary allocation for the army in 2022.

According to him, the inspection of projects in barracks and interaction with the army hierarchy would enable the committee to make adjustments in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

“This will enable the committee to know areas that need adjustment, addition and attention, especially that the 2022 budget is before the National Assembly.

“This oversight function will enable us to allocate what the army will get in 2022 with focus to the security challenges we are facing across the country,” he said.

Ndume said the strength of any nation was determined by the strength of its military and paramilitary agencies, noting that the government would continue to assist them to succeed.

He noted that the army was currently being overstretched due to its engagement in multiple fronts across the country.

“We commend the military and encourage the new guard (service chiefs) to continue with their good works while observing the rules of engagement,” he added.

The senator thanked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, for boosting the morale of and condoled with the 6 Division over the death of Maj.-Gen. Olu Irefin.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, commended the committee for its efforts to address the constraints in the army.

“We are happy that most of the interventions have been done especially in the area of equipment that are coming and efforts to improve army barracks.

“We also appreciate the donation of various types of operational vehicles to the army while the COAS has informed us that many are coming,” he said.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday said it would consider better budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Navy in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

The Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Rep. Yusuf Gadji, gave the assurance whe he led other members of the committee on inspection of projects at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt.

According to him, the navy and NNS Pathfinder had recorded milestone achievements in the execution of projects in its formations and units as budgeted in the 2020 fiscal year.

“We are on oversight to seek feedback from the navy that we superintend over, to enable us to address the concerns and seek ways to improve their operations.

“Going by what we have seen from inspection of NNS Pathfinder base, we can say that they are doing a good job in the area of contract execution.

“We understand the challenges in this base but we will only assist in budgeting for the primary projects that are significant due to the meagre resources available,” he said.

Gadji said the National Assembly was currently seeking ways to make the nation’s armed forces self-sufficient in the area of funding.

“To this end, we have bills before the national assembly, including the Armed Forces Support Fund and the Maritime Security Trust Fund.

“These bills when passed will go a long way to solving the problems associated with funding of military,” he said.

In a presentation, the Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Abdullahi Ahmed, said the base had destroyed hundreds of illegal refineries, bunkering sites as well as made many arrests in 2021 alone.

He said the successes were recorded with the deployment of swamp buggy machines that completely crushes the illegal refineries, thereby making it impossible for them to be reactivated.

(NAN)