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Osinbajo Demands Accountability For Security Expenditure

The need for openness in the handling of funds allocated for the purchase of hardware for the defense and security services has been emphasized by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He addressed late on Wednesday during a virtual interaction after hearing a presentation by the National Defence College Course 30 students on “Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future.”

Nigeria is dealing with a wide range of issues, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and secessionist movements, among others.

All six geographic zones, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are ripe for security breaches since symbols of power are being desecrated and both citizens and security personnel are being killed.

Although the federal government has allocated billions of naira for security and defense, experts say the way the funds are being used is questionable; thus, they have called for openness and, in some circumstances, an investigation.

In his presentation to the participants of the Defence College, the vice president said, “There needs to be more accountability because every time you hear about ‘we not having enough equipment,’ but there must be accountability.

“I will like to see a framework for greater accountability within the Ministry of Defence that ensures that they are able to account for military expenditure,” he said in a statement issued Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

According to him, Nigeria’s existing security issues and new dangers need that the military and other key players stay one step ahead of criminals while also increasing domestic arms production.

According to him, “If you look at the challenges that we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-state actors in particular who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare that we are experiencing.”

While praising the course participants for their efforts to suggest improvements in the defense sector, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized the necessity of domestic arm manufacture.

“If we say the local companies should produce some of the mobile platforms like Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), if we give them the contracts, they will produce, but if we choose to import rather than produce locally then we will never develop our military-industrial complex.”

Col. A. A. Adamu earlier suggested, among other things, reorganizing the Ministry of Defence to reflect modern problems and limit new threats to defense and security in a presentation on behalf of the Course 30 participants.

Other officials present at the event included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, and representative of the Inspector General of Police, among other senior officers from the college.

The National Defence College’s annual academic calendar prominently features course participants presenting research reports to the vice president.

Since 2016, members of the college have given the vice president reports of research done in important areas.

Despite calls from troops for greater equipment to face the enemy, details on the budget and other defense sector expenditures are rarely made public.

Some leaks to security establishments have generated controversy.

For instance, on December 14, 2017, the governors of Nigeria approved the release of $1 billion from the nation’s excess oil account to the federal government for the purpose of purchasing armaments for the Boko Haram war’s effective conduct.

According to reports, the clearance cut the $2.3 billion Excess Crude Account in half. This development sparked a contentious discussion because some analysts claimed the money would be stolen.

The money will cover the full range of needs, including the acquisition of equipment, training for military personnel, and logistics, according to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, who informed the press on the decision following the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

However, in 2019, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), the National Security Advisor (NSA), said that a sizable sum of money sanctioned for the acquisition of armaments under the former military chiefs could not be accounted for.

For instance, Gen. Monguno shouted out that he had no idea where the $1 billion that the governors had approved was.

Later, according to a statement from the NSA headquarters, Monguno did not claim that money was missing.

The Presidency also reacted, stating that the monies allotted for the purchase of weapons under the tenure of the former military chiefs were there and that although purchases had been made, the delivery of the weapons had not yet taken place.

The service chiefs were Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (Chief of Defence Staff-CDS); Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff-COAS)); Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff-CNS); Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff-CAS).

President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior special assistant for media and publicity, Garba Shehu, asserted that money could not possibly vanish while he was in office.

READ MORE: SUG Presidents: Nigerian Students Kidnapped, Murdered Due To ASUU Strike

Additionally, he said that the NSA was misquoted, emphasizing that Monguno did not charge the former agency heads with financial misappropriation.

Shehu said, “About the $1bn taken from the Excess Crude Account with the consent of state governors used for military procurements. I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing.

“The reference by it in the interview of the BBC Hausa Service by the National Security Adviser has been misconstrued and mistranslated. NSA made two critical points -one is that we don’t have enough weapons, which is a statement of facts, and two procurements made have not been fully delivered.

“At no point did the NSA say that money has been misappropriated and that no arms seen. They have not been delivered. That is correct; these are things you don’t get off the shelves,” Shehu said.

Military spending that is opaque can fuel a war economy, according to an expert

Umar Yakubu, a financial crimes specialist, discussed the implications of the vice president’s demand and said that a war economy could result from military expenditure that is not transparent.

“There is a need for more transparency in military spending because if we don’t, we are going to create a war economy where we will not be able to continue sustaining the corruption and where the war will not finish. That is one of the reasons insecurity has not gone down,” Yakubu said.

He emphasized that if the military stopped keeping their spending secret, Nigerians would have more faith in them and the work they accomplish.

“If you look all over the world, one area where there seems to be lack of transparency and opaqueness is the military sector in relation to their expenditure.

“Most governments hide under the cover of insecurity to tell you that they are not going to disclose how much they are spending on insecurity.

He said for the vice president to call for more transparency, speaks volumes.

“If you look at the trajectory from 2017 to 2021, the military budget has been increasing by a minimum of N500 million every year. If I am correct, it is over N2trn now—just to the military.

“If you crosscheck with what the minister of finance said, their releases are high. It is not just only about their budget. The releases are high, maybe up to 90%.

“Now, if there is so much heavy military expenditure and when you ask them, they will tell you that they lack equipment, so what is the problem? Where does the problem lie?” he asked.

Before submitting this report, calls to Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor’s cell phone failed to connect, making it impossible to reach him.

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Adoga Stephen
Adoga Stephen is a trained journalist, researcher, creative writer and freelancer. He studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State University of Science and Technology (then Laspotech) and acquired requisite skills for the practice of journalism, a profession he has been practicing since 2016.

The need for openness in the handling of funds allocated for the purchase of hardware for the defense and security services has been emphasized by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He addressed late on Wednesday during a virtual interaction after hearing a presentation by the National Defence College Course 30 students on “Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future.”

Nigeria is dealing with a wide range of issues, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and secessionist movements, among others.

All six geographic zones, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are ripe for security breaches since symbols of power are being desecrated and both citizens and security personnel are being killed.

Although the federal government has allocated billions of naira for security and defense, experts say the way the funds are being used is questionable; thus, they have called for openness and, in some circumstances, an investigation.

In his presentation to the participants of the Defence College, the vice president said, “There needs to be more accountability because every time you hear about ‘we not having enough equipment,’ but there must be accountability.

“I will like to see a framework for greater accountability within the Ministry of Defence that ensures that they are able to account for military expenditure,” he said in a statement issued Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

According to him, Nigeria’s existing security issues and new dangers need that the military and other key players stay one step ahead of criminals while also increasing domestic arms production.

According to him, “If you look at the challenges that we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-state actors in particular who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare that we are experiencing.”

While praising the course participants for their efforts to suggest improvements in the defense sector, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized the necessity of domestic arm manufacture.

“If we say the local companies should produce some of the mobile platforms like Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), if we give them the contracts, they will produce, but if we choose to import rather than produce locally then we will never develop our military-industrial complex.”

Col. A. A. Adamu earlier suggested, among other things, reorganizing the Ministry of Defence to reflect modern problems and limit new threats to defense and security in a presentation on behalf of the Course 30 participants.

Other officials present at the event included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, and representative of the Inspector General of Police, among other senior officers from the college.

The National Defence College’s annual academic calendar prominently features course participants presenting research reports to the vice president.

Since 2016, members of the college have given the vice president reports of research done in important areas.

Despite calls from troops for greater equipment to face the enemy, details on the budget and other defense sector expenditures are rarely made public.

Some leaks to security establishments have generated controversy.

For instance, on December 14, 2017, the governors of Nigeria approved the release of $1 billion from the nation’s excess oil account to the federal government for the purpose of purchasing armaments for the Boko Haram war’s effective conduct.

According to reports, the clearance cut the $2.3 billion Excess Crude Account in half. This development sparked a contentious discussion because some analysts claimed the money would be stolen.

The money will cover the full range of needs, including the acquisition of equipment, training for military personnel, and logistics, according to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, who informed the press on the decision following the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

However, in 2019, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), the National Security Advisor (NSA), said that a sizable sum of money sanctioned for the acquisition of armaments under the former military chiefs could not be accounted for.

For instance, Gen. Monguno shouted out that he had no idea where the $1 billion that the governors had approved was.

Later, according to a statement from the NSA headquarters, Monguno did not claim that money was missing.

The Presidency also reacted, stating that the monies allotted for the purchase of weapons under the tenure of the former military chiefs were there and that although purchases had been made, the delivery of the weapons had not yet taken place.

The service chiefs were Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (Chief of Defence Staff-CDS); Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff-COAS)); Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff-CNS); Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff-CAS).

President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior special assistant for media and publicity, Garba Shehu, asserted that money could not possibly vanish while he was in office.

READ MORE: SUG Presidents: Nigerian Students Kidnapped, Murdered Due To ASUU Strike

Additionally, he said that the NSA was misquoted, emphasizing that Monguno did not charge the former agency heads with financial misappropriation.

Shehu said, “About the $1bn taken from the Excess Crude Account with the consent of state governors used for military procurements. I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing.

“The reference by it in the interview of the BBC Hausa Service by the National Security Adviser has been misconstrued and mistranslated. NSA made two critical points -one is that we don’t have enough weapons, which is a statement of facts, and two procurements made have not been fully delivered.

“At no point did the NSA say that money has been misappropriated and that no arms seen. They have not been delivered. That is correct; these are things you don’t get off the shelves,” Shehu said.

Military spending that is opaque can fuel a war economy, according to an expert

Umar Yakubu, a financial crimes specialist, discussed the implications of the vice president’s demand and said that a war economy could result from military expenditure that is not transparent.

“There is a need for more transparency in military spending because if we don’t, we are going to create a war economy where we will not be able to continue sustaining the corruption and where the war will not finish. That is one of the reasons insecurity has not gone down,” Yakubu said.

He emphasized that if the military stopped keeping their spending secret, Nigerians would have more faith in them and the work they accomplish.

“If you look all over the world, one area where there seems to be lack of transparency and opaqueness is the military sector in relation to their expenditure.

“Most governments hide under the cover of insecurity to tell you that they are not going to disclose how much they are spending on insecurity.

He said for the vice president to call for more transparency, speaks volumes.

“If you look at the trajectory from 2017 to 2021, the military budget has been increasing by a minimum of N500 million every year. If I am correct, it is over N2trn now—just to the military.

“If you crosscheck with what the minister of finance said, their releases are high. It is not just only about their budget. The releases are high, maybe up to 90%.

“Now, if there is so much heavy military expenditure and when you ask them, they will tell you that they lack equipment, so what is the problem? Where does the problem lie?” he asked.

Before submitting this report, calls to Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor’s cell phone failed to connect, making it impossible to reach him.

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