Some security experts and a civil society organisation have said the N4.85tn spent by the Buhari regime was gulped by corruption allegedly perpetrated by the ‘corrupt service chiefs’ and other officers.
Saturday PUNCH reported that the Federal Government has provided N4.85tn to the armed forces in the last eight years, through its yearly budgetary allocations.
The budgetary allocations made by the Federal Government to the Army, Navy, and Air Force were mainly to cater for personnel and overheads, as well as recurrent and fixed expenditures.
According to documents from the Budget Office of the Federation made available to one of our correspondents, the Nigerian Army received N3tn between 2015 and 2022, while the Nigeria Navy got N889bn from the Federation Account in the same period.
Expressing their frustration that such an outrageous sum has not been able to deal decisively with the problem, they asked the government to audit the security budget for the past seven years.
A renowned security expert, Mr Jackson Lekan-Ojo, said the service chiefs should explain to Nigerians where all these monies dispensed in the last seven years have gone.
He said, “The thing is that when we look at insecurity, they do not consider the government being frugal. This government is not frugal at all. They promised to fight corruption, but instead of doing so, they fertilised corruption.
“If one wants to be corrupt, why must it be in the area where it would be detrimental to every other sector? Insecurity will adversely affect the economy, socio-political life of the country.”
Knocking members of the National Assembly, he said, “The people in the National Assembly that are threatening Mr President about impeachment now, they have never been up and doing. There is the principle of checks and balances in the democratic setting, but it is not used.
“They will do a budget for the Ministry of Defence, army and navy headquarters, but no one will ask how the last one was spent. If they do another one now, that one, too, will go the way of the previous. There must be an audit of the account.
“This is why these people have become so corrupt. If these terrorists have the effrontery to accost the presidential convoy and damage our rail system the next day, went to Kuje prison housing terrible criminals; what can they not do, We are in danger?” he said.
Another security consultant, Mr Yemi Adeyemi said the serving security chiefs should be called to answer how the monies were dispensed.
“Where did all this money go? We are talking of over a trillion. What did they use it to do? I want to know; many Nigerians want to know.
“The corruption in that sector is something else. If we are even seeing the dividends, it is different. Nowhere is safe in this country. It seems like our service men have lost morale with the way they are being killed by these terrorists.
“It is unfair. It is like Abuja is under siege. We must confront these challenges. They have become bolder than they were. The government must be sincere about how this issue of finance is going. You cannot put such money in a fight and get nothing in return. It is unfair,” he said.
Another Lagos-based security expert, Oladele Fajana, noted that the money spent so far may not be the problem, stating that the security issues lingered because all Nigerians have ‘refused to speak in one voice.
“It is not about the money spent so far. It is about the use of this money. Anytime issues come up like this, I am always sorry for the government, the people, and the security chiefs.
“When we say we should ban okada because of how the terrorists have begun to use it to perpetrate crimes, some people will say, ‘You want to take jobs from 40, 000 people.’ These are the issues. We are too sentimental, tribalistic, religious, and political.’’
“The next government may face worse challenges than this one. Professionally, when I counted the money, I was surprised. This shows that the money is not going into the right place. Corruption is one of the major reasons we found ourselves in this place,” he noted.
On his part, a social commentator and Executive Director of the Centre for Anti Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the allocations were not the problem but the ‘professional will on the part of the intelligence and security agencies.
“They don’t seem to have committed themselves to the duty of providing adequate intelligence and security for the people.
“It is like most of our security agencies are more interested in their pockets than in the safety of Nigerians. That is what led to the so-called mutiny suspected to have happened years before. Some Army officers then said they were tired of fighting with inferior arms and ammunition,” he added.