Nigeria should deploy this $1billion to fight menacing insecurity
It is interesting that Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved the sum $1 billion for the procurement of military hardware for the purpose of fighting insecurity in that West African country. The money is about N360 billion according to today’s Dollar to Naira exchange rate. It is interesting because if this money is deployed judiciously, it could go a long way in procuring relevant arms and ammunition needed to ward-off rampaging Boko Haram and other bourgeoning threats to security in the country.
However, the timing of the release of the fund is ominous. And this calls for fears about the sincerity of the government to use this money for the said purpose. Election time is drawing closer and there are temptations to use available money to fund election. It was about this time in the life of the Goodluck Jonathan administration that $2.2 billion was also approved for the same purpose. The now infamous $2.2 billion arms deal, for which many players in the former administration are being tried is a bad precedent which must not re-occur. $2.2 was released to the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki to procure arms and ammunition but the money never got deployed to fight insurgency. Instead, it was shared among stakeholders for the opposite purpose of Jonathan’s re-election—which did not happen. While Soldiers danced to the macabre tune of the Boko Haram at the Sambisa forest trying to combat highly motivated terrorists with their bare hands, politicians were in Abuja and abroad sharing the slush fund meant for arms. Many Soldiers were killed mercilessly and the insurgents grew in number.
Already, some vocal politicians are already nursing some fears that this N360 billion may go the way of the Dasuki’s $2.2 billion. Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose solely voted against the approval of this $1 billion, stating that the fund will be used for Buhari’s re-election, not to fight insecurity. other members of the opposition questioned the All Progressive Congress led-government for voting N360 billion to fight Boko Haram which the government said has been defeated and are being negotiated with to grant them amnesty.
The truth which is open to everyone is that insecurity in Nigeria is still high and menacing. And chances are that the security situation may get worse as the election time draws closer. That is why it is a right move to be on the alert. On the part of the government, voting this large sum to fight insecurity which includes Boko Haram, herdsmen activities, cultism, armed robbery, militancy and other forms insecurity, is another way of telling Nigerians that insecurity is far from being over.
There is insecurity everywhere in the country. Boko Haram and herdsmen are snuffing lives out of innocent people every day. It is happening even as this is being written. Politicians, who believe that elections cannot be won on free and fair basis have stockpiled arms and procured gunmen to do hatchet jobs during the elections. The government should have a counter-response programme to guarantee the safety of the people before, during and after the 2019 election.
We believe that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a right step to vote this money for security reasons. But the government should do more to ensure that the fears expressed by Fayose did not materialise. Buhari must ensure that the money is used for the purpose it is meant for and not for any other purpose, no matter how beautiful any other argument may seem. Nigerians and the world are watching.