A group of well-meaning Nigerians, under the auspices of One Voice Nigeria, has called on the 9th National Assembly to improve its annual allocation for defence.
According to the group, committed to rallying Nigerians of diverse persuasion to adopt a common ground, the budgetary allocation doesn’t match the current realities on the ground.
It was on this premise these concerned Nigerians launched a campaign titled ‘Nothing is Too Much for Our Security’ at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, on Tuesday.
At the event, Convener Comrade Kabiru Ibrahim Dallah stated that security is the most serious business and should be given utmost attention.
While applauding the efforts of the 8th National Assembly to marginally increase funding for defence, the group charged Senator Ahmed Lawan’s led arm of government to go more steps further.
One Voice Nigeria, however, called on all Nigerians, home and abroad to join this one-off project aimed at supporting the nation’s troops and enhancing our sovereignty.
“ It is on this note that One Voice Nigeria today launches the ‘NOTHING IS TOO MUCH FOR OUR SECURITY’ campaign. The campaign will focus on several areas to ensure that there is an improvement in the quantum of resources available for providing security to Nigerians, ensure that the appropriation of the resources is not delayed and ensure prompt release of funds that have been approved,” the statement reads in part.
“ We hereby present our 3-point agenda for security spending. The first point of the agenda we are setting for the National Assembly is to double and possibly quadruple defence and security spending. This point is premised on the reality that the current budgeting for the Armed Forces, particularly the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Police Force is very low.
“ The need for the Federal Lawmakers to find ways of increasing the funds available to these bodies in view of ongoing operations against Boko Haram/ISWAP, cattle-rustlers, bandits, kidnappers, militants and other threats that have necessitated the massive deployment of the military and mobile police units. The budgeting for these organizations simply has to change to reflect the current reality. We see the necessity to pass a special supplementary budget to ensure that they are speedily empowered to deal with the security threats in the land.
“ The second point is that the National Assembly must, for the sake of the urgency around security issues in Nigeria, ensure speedy passage of defence budget and releases to the military. The country has the benefit of experience to know what happens when intervention budgets are allowed to succumb to politics as was the case with the issue of the $1billion sought by President Buhari, which the last parliament frustrated in the name of getting at the president.
“ By the time the lawmakers in that parliament were done with their politicking Boko Haram has upgraded to become ISWAP. This situation could have been avoided if the urgency of the situation were considered and given primacy.
“ The third point of the agenda is to the Ministry of Finance, which must give priority to issues of national security and to ensure that no arm of the military or the Police suffer any financial weakness on the account of non-release of funds.
“ It does not matter if the expenditure in question is recurrent or capital whether for procurement of critical war infrastructure or for other logistics. Going forward, any contrived failure to release funds to these institutions would be viewed by Nigerians as collusion with terrorists and criminals on the part of the officials responsible for such delay.
“ We, therefore, urge you all to follow us on all social media handles that will be passed by my colleagues to critically engage stakeholders at all levels. This is our new approach to fighting insecurity and urge all Nigerians and our international partners to join us on this project.
“ Nothing is too much for us to spend on the security of Nigeria. Nothing is too much because security is key.”