The Nigerian Senate has rejected the N27 billion proposed for the Army in the 2021 budget, describing it as inadequate.
It, however, disagreed with the President Muhammadu Buhari on the deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant Boko Haram insurgence.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Ali Mohammed Ndume (APC Borno South) stated this after the 2020-2021 budget defence of the Nigeria Army yesterday.
Ndume who briefed Senate Correspondents at the end of a closed door meeting with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen.Tuku Yusuf Buratia, who was represented by Lt Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, on the budgetary estimate for the Army, wondered why scarce resources that would have been channeled towards the welfare of the displaced Indigenes of North East geopolitical zone should be shared with the alleged repentant Boko Haram insurgence.
“I am in disagreement with the government on the issue of deradicalization, rehabilitation and Reintegration of Boko Haram repentants. You can’t be resettling people, pampering them while the war is on.
“The committee is on the same page and I believe many Nigerians are on the same page with this.”
Continuing Ndume said: “In my village, mallams that are Muslims, not ordinary Muslims but Mallams, elders above 60, quote me, 75 of them were taken to an abattoir and slaughtered by Boko Haram. Can you imagine that the Nigerian army or the Nigerian government is saying that because these people have gone to repent, or they say they have their hands up, you bring them back and pamper them.
“If you give IDPs here, N150, 000 as pack as they give them (Boko Haram repentants) I have 10,000 of them here…. they are displaced, suffering. They know these people that killed their people, it is wrong.
“In addition to that, the recent attack in Dambwa was carried out by a repentant giving information as to the movement of the army, the general that was killed was a victim.”
On the budget proposal for the Nigeria Army, Ndume said the allocation was grossly inadequate giving the great responsibility of surmounting activities of Boko Haram insurgence in the North East has remained insurmountable.
“Imagine people who are in the war front, trying to protect the country.
“Worst of it, their capital, I mean money that is supposed to be given to them to buy the necessary equipment, arms and ammunition, secure kitting for the armed forces, only 64% of that money was released.
“On top of that, the 50% was released in first week of July. The second batch of it was released this week and Nigeria is at war. The whole of Nigerian Army budget is $1.3 billion. That is at the level of Niger, Chad and Sudan and other poor countries,” he noted
Consequently, Ndume further explained,”In a period of war where the country is borrowing and is planning to spend N13 trillion, government is budgeting less than N30 billion as capital for the Nigerian army.