In a bid to prevent future controversies over purchase of arms and ammunitions, the House of Representatives Committee on Army has called for urgent review of the procurement of arms and ammunitions for the Nigerian Army and all the security agencies in the country.‬
Hon. Rima Shawulu made this call yesterday while addressing the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai and top army officers during the 2015/2016 budget defence.
Shawulu lamented over the sorry state of facilities in the 30 military formations and barracks visited recently by the committee during its familiarization tour.‬
While stressing that the committee has the constitutional powers to probe into the arms scandal, he queried the delay in the release of the supplementary budget of N3, 196,089,405 for salaries of Nigerian Army.
According to him, “In all, we visited and related with officers in about 30 formations in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. The findings are sobering and a rethinking of the way we do things.‬
‪”It is sobering that the officers and men who have dedicated their lives to keep us safe, live in such scandalous accommodation. It is also shocking that the decay and rot in the system has been left unchecked and our soldiers fighting without required equipment.‬
“The controversies over the purchase of arms and ammunitions or alleged purchase of inferior or substandard arms call for an urgent review of our processes. Indeed, as several scholars, leaders and generals have repeatedly affirmed, war is too important to be left in the hands of generals.‬
“The world has moved on and in most democratic countries, representatives of the people, the parliament is involved in the details of implementation of budgets and procurement processes”.‬
The chairman also queried the sum of N6 billion paid out of the N7 billion for the construction of vice president’s residence without commensurate result last year and stressed the need for adequate budgetary provision for the 117 barracks rehabilitation across the country.‬
Shawulu said the committee had sent a letter of request to the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and Senate President, Bukola Saraki for increase in the budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Army for the year 2016.‬
In his brief response, Buratai told the committee that all the service chiefs and those involved in the procurement were retired, adding that they were limited on the extent they could probe them.
‪Buratai pointed out that the sum of N160 billion approved by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning for the Nigerian Army was inadequate compared with the sum of N520 billion requested.‬
‪”If we can get N520 billion today, you can be sure of getting highly motivated troops that their families are being taking care of”, Buratai stated