The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on the National Assembly to urgently initiate a probe into how the budgetary allocations to the military have been spent in recent years, with a view to establishing whether the military is adequately empowered to effectively tackle the worsening spate of terrorism in the country.
In a press release issued on Thursday in Lagos and signed by Lai Mohammed, interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, the party said the Upper and Lower Houses should exercise their constitutional duties by inviting service chiefs and other relevant government officials to shed light on this issue.
Mohammed said this was necessary in order to lay to rest insinuations in certain quarters that the nation’s military is incapable of fighting the ongoing insurgency sponsored by the Boko Haram.
”The Nigerian military comes highly recommended globally because it has excelled, since 1960, in peacekeeping operations around the world. In fact, Nigeria is among the top troop contributors to global peacekeeping operations, by virtue of the acknowledged sterling performance of its military in the various missions.
“Our military has also performed credibly in internal security operations in the past. If suddenly the ability and capability of this same military are being called to question in the ongoing battle against the Boko Haram terrorists, then something must have gone wrong. This is why we are calling on the National Assembly to find out whether or not the soldiers we are sending out to battle the insurgents are adequately equipped to carry out their duties; to find out whether their morale is at the right level; to find out whether the huge funds being allocated for security are being used for the right purposes,” Mohammed said.
While stressing that the National Assembly should ensure it is not deterred by claims in some quarters that military and security expenditure cannot be probed, the APC urged the lawmakers not to be discouraged by those who will “read political meanings” to such a call.
”The tendency for those who want to silence all the voices of reason to attribute political undertones to any statement, especially from the opposition, on the burning issue of terrorism will not and cannot silence us. We say, unequivocally, that our call is in the best interest of the nation, which is under siege from terrorists, and that it is also in line with global best practices. During the Iraq war, the issue of whether or not the American troops battling insurgents across Iraq were adequately provided with the appropriate body armour and whether their armoured personnel carriers could withstand the enemy firepower were publicly debated without anyone accusing that country’s opposition of playing politics with security,” the APC statement added.
Mohammed said the probe becomes expedient after a serving senator disclosed that a military armoured personnel carrier that escorted his team broke down in the course of their trip to Sambisa Forest, which is regarded as the stronghold of the terrorists.
”We do not know whether or not these stories are true. But what we do know is that something seems not to be right with the way we are waging the war against these terrorists, and the only way to know for sure is for the National Assembly to ask the pertinent questions,” Mohammed stressed.