The Army Committee of the House of Representatives has once again urged President Muhammadu Buhari to label bandits terrorists, allowing the Nigerian Armed Forces to wage war against them.
On Friday, November 6, the committee’s Chairman, Abdulrazak Namdas, made the demand when the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, came before the committee to defend the proposed budget for 2022 in Abuja.
It was the committee’s second time pressing Buhari to act within 24 hours.
Reacting to this, Namadas who is the budget defence said
“My committee members have said I should repeat what I said yesterday before TRADOC yesterday, that they are a training institution and we charge them to train more on terrorism and banditry because these are actually challenging issues.
That was the main reason why we in the National Assembly – both the House and the Senate – have passed a resolution urging the President to also designate bandits as terrorists so that it can enable the Army to tackle the challenge headlong. We know at the moment that there are technical challenges with using our equipment because of certain conditions.
At least, we urge the President to please help sign this because right now, the activities of bandits are getting even more sophisticated – more than even what is happening in the North-East.”
Namdas also noted that the Nigerian Army’s morale was poor in terms of accommodation, emphasising that they could only be the best if they were mentally stable.
“It is our hope that the Armed Forces Fund Bill currently awaiting concurrence at the Senate, when passed and assented to by the President, will help tackle some of these major challenges” he said
Namdas, speaking to the press following the closed-door meeting, criticised the sum provided to the Nigerian Army for capital spending in the 2022 Appropriation Bill as insufficient.
“In 2021, the capital (expenditure) was N29bn; today, in 2022, it is N28bn. So, instead of moving up, it is going down. Actually, the money is very small. There is a need for us to sit down and see how we can help the Army move forward.
“Agreed, we have done enough in the supplementary budget, but the capital component of it for the whole 2022 is N28bn. We can’t do much with the money.”
Another challenge we are faced with is that, even if you have 100 per cent of the money on the ground, you have to place an order. Army equipment is not something you buy over the shelf.
“Even when you placed (an order for) Tucanos, it took you how many years to get here? Even if you budget this year and you go and inspect certain things, you will not see them immediately because they come based on the timing that is allowed.”