$1b Not Too Much To Fight Our Security Challenges - FG
The Nigerian government has decided to break the silence on the approved $1 billion for fight against insurgency.
It says the criticisms trailing the approval of the fund are unnecessary and unhelpful.
The Minister of Information, Culture and and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, expressed this position at a news conference in Lagos.
He said the Nigerian Governor’s Forum acted wisely in approving the fund from the Excess Crude Account based on the need to properly fund security operations in the country to adequately respond to threats by Boko Haram and other criminals.
Since the approval, the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has disassociated himself from it, insisting that it would not require that much to fight insurgents in the region that were already decimated.
But Mr Mohammed pointed out that the approved fund was not to fight Boko Haram in the North East alone but also to tackle kidnapping, cattle rustling, illegal oil bunkering and other crimes.
“The fact that Boko Haram has been largely degraded does not mean the war is over. As we have said times without number, asymmetric wars like the one against Boko Haram do not end with an armistice.
” It is, therefore, curious that some of those who have criticised the one-billion-dollar approval have hinged their argument on the fact that
the Boko Haram has been degraded.
“Perhaps also, the critics do not know that fighting an asymmetric war is costlier than fighting a conventional war. In any case, wars, especially the war against terror, are never fought with budgetary provisions.
“It is common knowledge that the annual budgetary allocation to the military is not commensurate with the internal security challenges we face, for which we have had to continuously rely on the military to assist the police and the Civil Defence Corps.
“The one billion dollars is not too much to fight our security challenges. Afterral, security of lives and property is at the core of the existence of any government, and the NGF understands this quite well, going by its action in approving the withdrawal from the ECA”, he said.
Further justifying the approval, the government spokesman said the aircraft being used for the war, including fighter jets and helicopters, altogether consumed 64,021.08 litres of fuel per day amounting to N15.153million daily to fuel the aircraft.
The minister said that spares for the aircraft from January to November 2017 cost a total of N20,019 million while consumables for the aircraft, and here I am talking of engine oil, plugs etc, amounted toN 3.86million monthly
Mohammed said that between November 5 to December 17 ,the amount spent on ammunition was over $5 million.
He then described the Buhari-administration as a very disciplined government which would ensure the fund is used for its purpose.