House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has disclosed that only nine per cent of the total budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Armed Forces is spent on equipment.
Gbajabiamila spoke at a public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, organised by the House Committee on Defence on Monday in Abuja.
According to the speaker, appropriation records show that about 91 per cent of the current funding of the Armed Forces is spent on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare.
“This bill seeks to provide an injection of additional capital funding for the Armed Forces of Nigeria at a crucial time in our nation.
“I am sure many of you will wonder why the Armed Forces of Nigeria need an additional financial injection at this time.
“The fact based on appropriation records is that about 91 per cent of the current funding to the Armed Forces go on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare, leaving only nine per cent for capital purchases.
“This reality has prompted this 9th House of Representatives to seek a way of providing funds that will be focused on the capital needs and training of our Armed Forces,’’ he said.
READ ALSO: PDP Governors Begin Meeting
Gbajabiamila said that the importance of the bill was evidenced by the dwindling resources available to the Armed Forces of Nigeria to prosecute the various security operations it was involved in.
According to him, this requires innovative ideas to raise additional funds without placing any burden on Nigerians, in support of the Nigerian military.
According to Gbajabiamila, Nigeria’s expenditure on military hardware and training in the last five years hovers between a paltry nine to 11 per cent of budgetary allocation to the Armed Forces.
He said that it was grossly incapable of empowering the military to face the security challenges in the country especially the insurgency in the North East.
Gbajabiamila said that to succeed in the fight against insecurity, the Armed Forces of Nigeria required training and more funding for modern weapons.
He said that spending on military hardware must definitely increase to support the commitment already being exhibited by the soldiers.
The speaker said the bill was a time-limited endeavour to upgrade the equipment infrastructure of the Armed Forces.
According to him, if Nigeria must develop, it needs to get its security estate right by ensuring that the military is adequately equipped and well-trained .
This requires funding which cannot be sourced solely through the annual budget provisions, he said.
According to Gbajabiamila , during war times, countries do not fund their military through regular appropriation alone as seen in the United States, United Kingdom and all Western powers who engage in extra- budgetary funding.
“Nigeria is at war against insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping and all manner of insecurity; hence the need to uplift the resources available to our armed services to enable them to procure the best tools to help win this war.
“So, what we seek to do in this bill is not new or unique to us as a nation; the solution to our security challenges requires asymmetric actions across many policy areas. This is what we have tried to do as the representatives of the people.
“The concept of a trust fund already exists for the Nigerian Police; it only makes sense to also bolster our military capability as well through this unique vehicle,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Chairman, House, House Committee on Defence, Rep. Benson Babajimi (APC-Lagos) said that the bill sought to explore alternative sources of funding for the armed forces.
He said that the need to create additional funding for the military had become apparent giving the myriad of security challenges facing the country.
According to him, only approximately nine per cent of the annual budgetary allocation is available for capital expenditure in the military; a large chunk goes for recurrent expenditure.
The rep said that the Nigerian armed forces had continued to expand and there was the need to provide adequate weaponry and equipment to sustain the ever-increasing operations.
Babajimi said that efforts in the past to meet the required weapons to adequately combat insecurity had met brick wall due to insufficient funds.
He said that Nigeria ranked very low in terms of defence spending and that developed countries like the U. S., Russia, United Kingdom, Poland all have alternative sources of funding for defence.
According to him, Nigeria spends $2.6 billion, ranking fourth in Africa after Algeria, Morocco and South Africa which spend $9.7 billion, $4.8 billion and $3.1 billion respectively.
He said given the security challenge facing the country, the fund was aimed at ensuring robust, efficient, well-trained and equipped armed forces.
The chairman said that the house would stop at nothing to ensure that the Nigerians were safe and their property secured across the country.
Dr Charles Omole, the Special Assistant to the Speaker on National Security and Intelligence, said that the bill was not placing extra responsibility on the citizens or taxes on businesses in the country.
He explained that the revenue for the fund would be sourced from statutory deductions as well as voluntary donations from individuals or organisations.
According to Omole, the bill expressly states that the funds will only be spent on equipment and special trainings for military personnel.
Read more authentic news on our social media platforms
BREAKING: Govt Increases Salaries Of University Lecturers, Others
In a bid to improve the lot of tertiary education, the Federal Government has increased the salaries of the lecturers and non-academic staff in the nation’s public universities.
The increase was approved by the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
This includes payment of a newly approved percentage increment in salaries for academic and non-academic staff of all Federal Government’s tertiary institutions in the country.
This is as the percentage increment for junior staff of tertiary institutions was raised from 23.5% which was reviewed last year to 25%. Our correspondent gathered that the arrears of the increment from January 2023 will also be paid.
Though nothing was said about the withheld salaries of the academics and non-academics who embarked on strike in 2022, it was learnt that the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, earlier wrote the Chairman of the NSIWC, Ekpo Nta, to demand the status of the collective.
According to sources within the Ministry of Education, the decision of the minister to write the NSIWC might not be unconnected from visitations by some of the academic unions and intervention by some pressure groups.
When asked if polytechnic lecturers were aware of the new development, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said that the union heard of the news and were looking forward to the implementation.
“Definitely, we heard of it and we are looking forward to it. There will be 25% increment for junior lecturers while chief lecturers and professors will benefit from 35% increment,” he said.
The National Vice-President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Chris Piwuna, disclosed that such a letter would be addressed to the management of universities and not ASUU.
A letter by the Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the NSIWC, Eyo Nta, which was addressed to the Minister of Education on September 14,2023 shortly before his departure to the United Nations General Assembly in New York
tagged ‘RE: Implementation of the 35% and 23.5% salary increment for staff of tertiary institutions,’ reads: “I refer to your letter No. FME/IS/UNI/ASUU/C.I/IT?/90 dated 8th September 2023 in respect of the above-subject. Find attached the circulars pertaining to the four salary structures in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education for your information (attached).
“The 23.5% earlier reflected in our letter SWC/S/04/S.149/I/59 of 28 July 2022 and stated in paragraph 2 of your letter, has been increased to 25% which accounted for the increased cost implications. This Commission is really pleased with the success your informal discussions have achieved. We shall endeavour to support all your efforts aimed at repositioning the Education Sector. Please accept the assurances of my warm regards.”
Consequently, the commission proceeded to issue a circular also dated September 14, 2023 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation among others informing them of the implementation of the newly reviewed salaries.
The circular reads: “ The Presidential Committee on Salaries at its 13th meeting having taken into consideration the various stages of collective bargaining in various sectors, and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions, and consequent upon the Federal Government’s approval, as well as 2023 budgetary provisions, approval is hereby conveyed for the revision of the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for academic staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January 2023.”
Also, a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation dated September 21, 2023 which was made available to our correspondent on Friday in Abuja confirmed the increment.
The letter which was signed on behalf of the Director, Human Resource of the office, Ajanaku F.O reads, “I am directed to inform you that the Presidential Committee on Salaries at it’s 13th meeting having taken into consideration the different stages of collective bargaining in various sectors and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions and consequently the Federal Government’s approval, is hereby conveyed as revised for the following:-
“Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II for non-Academic Staff of Federal Universities, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Education Institutions Salary Structure for non – Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure II (CONUASS II) for Academic Staff of Federal University with effect from 1st January, 2023.”
Canada’s Dallaire Institute Invites Nigerian Security Personnel For Elite Child Protection Training
The Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security, a global leader in preventing the recruitment and use of children in armed violence, has invited two members of Nigeria’s security forces to participate in its first regional lead trainers course on child protection. The course will run from September 25 to 29, 2023.
Maj. Edwin Okpala (rtd), a chartered mediator, and a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration expert at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre, and Capt. Grace Watirahyel Samuel, will join other members of the armed forces, police, and civil society groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Uganda for five days of theoretical training and scenario – based simulation in Rwanda.
Organized through the Dallaire Institute’s Africa Centre of Excellence, the course, which is specifically for previously trained facilitators, will be delivered by lead facilitator Maj. Musa Donald Gbow, the first-ever child protection advisor in an African Union peacekeeping mission and a master trainer for the Dallaire Institute.
In a statement, the Executive Director of the Dallaire Institute, Dr Shelly Whitman disclosed that the course will bring participants up to speed on best practices in preventing the recruitment and use of children, while enhancing their ability to independently lead Dallaire Institute courses across the continent.
“The Dallaire Institute believes in the importance of collaboration that leads to long-term systemic change to place children at the heart of peace and security. The lead trainers’ course will bring together our champions for change from military and police institutions across the African continent, so they can support and learn from each other on how to prevent the recruitment and use of children and we as the Dallaire Institute can continue to learn from their lived experiences to ensure our approaches are effective”, Whitman noted.
The Dallaire Institute has worked with the Nigerian military, police, and civil society groups since 2017. In 2021, as part of collaborative efforts, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Martin Luther Agwai Leadership and International Peacekeeping Centre (MLALIPKC) and the African Peace Support Training Association (APSTA) to support capacity building activities.
Founded by renowned humanitarian and former Canadian Forces Lieutenant General, Roméo Dallaire, the Dallaire Institute was created with the unique premise that preventing violence against children requires a dual lens that is focused on prioritizing the protection of children, as well as understanding the significant operational impacts upon security sector actors.
As co-developers and custodians of The Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, the institute’s stakeholders advise governments and multilateral partners on integrating the principles into security sector governance.
The Institute also hosts a prestigious Tier 1 Canada Research Chair on International Peace, Security and Children and offers undergraduate and graduate courses that will lead to the creation of a certificate program on children, peace and security. Through academic and practitioner training, and community engagement, the Dallaire Institute’s interdisciplinary and applied research advances innovative strategies for preventing the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts and violence. The Dallaire Institute is supported through private, public, and international contributions.
Security Operatives Crack Down On Sagamu Cultists, House of Assembly Member, Six Others In DSS Net
Security operatives in Ogun State on Wednesday tracked six suspected cultists, allegedly involved in the violence that erupted in Sagamu at the weekend to the official residence of a member of the state House of Assembly.
The member, representing Sagamu State Constituency (1), Hon. Damilare Bello Mohammed, was alleged to have provided shelter to the fleeing cultists.
A team of security operatives, in a sting operation after a tip-off, arrested the suspects on the premises of the lawmaker.
Those arrested, according to sources, include Damilare Bello Mohammed aka DRE, Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade.
They are currently undergoing interrogation at the Department of State Service (DSS).
Sources revealed that many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from the suspects.
It would be recalled that Hon. Bello was arrested by the DSS for masterminding the violent protest that took place in February this year in Sagamu over the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
During the protest, irate youths vandalised about 10 banks and other public infrastructures.
NEW TIMES CULTURE
Thousands Dump Amosun, Re-Align With Abiodun
BREAKING: Govt Increases Salaries Of University Lecturers, Others
Coups In Africa: Historical Antecedents, Root Causes, And The Systemic Way Out
Why GOFAMINT General Overseer Demoted His Deputy
BREAKING: UK Suspends Work, Study, Family Visas For Nigerians Over Ukraine War
BREAKING: First Nigerian Female Vice Chancellor Alele-Williams Is Dead
Opinion3 days ago
The West And The Hypocrisy Of Democracy
Latest News4 days ago
Police Refund N810,000 Extorted From Victim To Delta CDHR
Opinion4 days ago
Interview14 hours ago
Coups In Africa: Historical Antecedents, Root Causes, And The Systemic Way Out
Opinion4 days ago
A – Z Of Ibadan Achievements