IT is unfortunate that Nigerians are no longer paying enough quality attention to the manner in which our financial resources are being allocated and spent, especially through the annual appropriation Acts.
We as citizens should be interested in how our political leaders are spending taxpayers’ money to ensure that enough is being put into areas that impact directly on lives of the ordinary person, such as food security, education, health, infrastructure, agriculture and security.
Our leaders will sit up and do the right thing when they realise that our eyes are on them.
The shocking aspect of our budgeting in the past six years is the inordinately huge amount of funds sunk in one of the regime’s priority areas: security.
During the past six years, Nigeria budgeted more than N5trn for Defence alone.
Between 2016 and 2020, N575.9bn was released for defence capital purchases, while the Federal Government in April 2018 took $1bn from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, without National Assembly appropriation “for more equipment for the military” as announced by the then Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali. The total amount of money released for Defence capital projects is well in excess of one trillion naira.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, once sensationally claimed that the $1bn had gone “missing”, but he quickly recanted. Though the truth remains vague, Nigerians are aware of the recent delivery of six of the 12 Super Tucano assault jets purchased from America with $496m.
The president also allocated the highest amount to Defence in 2022 with N2.41trn. At the rate we are going, Defence may take up to N10trn of our budget before Buhari leaves office.
If our prioritised security and defence strategies were working, we should have seen insecurity at its lowest ebb by now.
We would have been in a better position to channel scarce funds to people-oriented programmes.
Independent assessors have put the number of civilians and security personnel killed in the Boko Haram insurgency alone in the past six years at over 11, 420.
This is apart from the senseless killings by the North West “Bandits” and the marauding armed herdsmen who enjoy a free rein in their killing spree throughout the North Central and Southern zones.
We believe that our security challenges have been wrongly handled. The double game being played by certain powerful individuals, concealment of terrorism sponsors, the corruption that has crept in, the wrong targeting of a section of our populace for military actions and the condonation of the terrorist herdsmen are evidences of this.
Unless we turn a new leaf, our security challenges may continue until a new, more committed regime comes in. No amount of borrowed money wrongly thrown at our security challenges will bring positive results.