Reps probe spending of counter-insurgency funds

The House of Representatives yesterday ordered an immediate probe into the use of funds appropriated for the war against insurgency in the country.The resolution followed the adoption of motions moved by Mohammed Sani Abdu, Isaac Gyang and Hassan Saleh during a debate on the recent Boko Haram attack, which killed dozens of Nigerian soldiers in Metele, Borno State.

The investigation, which is to be conducted by a yet to be constituted ad hoc committee, will look into possible operational lapses responsible for the large number of casualties. The lawmakers also urged the military high command to release the names of the slain soldiers after consultation with their families.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the deliberation, expressed worry on the loss. He noted that something must be amiss as smaller countries like Chad, Cameroon and Niger secure their borders effectively. He wondered whether the multinational joint task force comprising Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin Republic is still in place to contain Boko Haram activities in the Lake Chad region.

Abdu particularly sought proof that the $1 billion recently appropriated by the National Assembly to prosecute the insurgency was spent judiciously.

Aliyu Magaji called for the sacking of the service chiefs. “They have failed. How long would they be there, attending the funeral services of our soldiers? President Buhari should replace them immediately before it is too late,” he said.

For Abdulsamad Dasuki who chairs the committee on navy, the military is technologically backward. He claimed it has about 200,000 soldiers which, according to him, are not enough to protect the millions of Nigerians and a border stretching from the Chad Basin to the Atlantic.

This came as the All Progressives Congress (APC) faulted claims by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that funds for counter insurgency operations were diverted into financing the 2019 election campaigns.In a statement, APC spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu said such a position was a sad reminder of the evil and retrogressive practices the PDP was notorious for while it led the country.

APC said it would never apply the practice brazenly displayed during the PDP administration when funds for fighting Boko Haram were allegedly shared among leaders and their cronies. It concluded that the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have decided to dance on the graves of patriotic soldiers by politicising the Metele killings.

“The PDP and Atiku are playing desperate politics where even the blood of our fallen heroes is fair game. Their actions are callous and insensitive to the families and dependents of the late soldiers and indeed our military which battles daily to ensure our territorial integrity. Nigerians see through PDP’s ploy to score political points, as elections approach. It will surely backfire.

“While the APC mourns the death of our military and other security personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty, we urge them to remain focused on the brave task of securing the nation. The President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration remains solidly committed to bringing lasting peace and security to all parts of the country and ensuring that previously displaced persons are rehabilitated to resume their normal and productive lives.”



Credit – Adamu Abuh