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Insecurity:Military Funding,The Lies And Governor Ortom’s Emotional Outburst Against Buhari

By Lateef Adegbite

 For years , there have been complaints by the military  of a shortfall in releases from the ministry of Finance, to fund  the operations of the Maiduguri, Borno state,  based  Operation Lafiya Dole, prosecuting the anti-Jihadist war in the north east Geo-political region.

 This may have informed why  Ali Ndume, led Senate Committee  on the Army to had  invited Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance , Budget and National Planning, to appear before  the Committee  on Thursday, April 29, 2021 to throw more light on the military funding in order  to know the liar.

The minister may not have honoured the Senate Committee invitation, but she was said to have  sent Aliyu Shinkafi, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary  who was armed with the details  of the  financial  releases to the military  for the funding of the Operation Lafiya Dole in prosecuting the war on Counter-terrorism in the flash point north east states.

Hajia Ahmed: Minister Of Finance

The minister may have  kept a sealed lips over the military funding  on  theCounter-terrorism  war in the north east over the years to avoid causing disaffection  in the army.  Shemay have been forced to speak out  because of the pressure from the Ndume’s Committee to know who is to blame  why the Thatre have not been able   to crush the Islamic Fundamentalist  Group, BokoHaram, and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP,  insurgents, despite the huge amount appropriated and released  yearly for its operations.

 Armed with the Financcial  document given to him by the minister,  Shinkafi, had said that the military Authorities have no reason whatsoever  to complain of shortfall in military funding as the Operation Lafiya Dole, is a priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired  Army General,  led All Progressive Congress APC, government, at the Federal level.

Given an insider information of the classified information, the minister, who spoke through Shinkafi, the ministry Permanent Secretary,  had  told the Ndume led  Committee  that N75 billion  was appropriated and released in 2019  for military funding. She noted that the appropriated amount,in 2019,  was released during the  tenure of Yusuf Tukur Buratai, a  retired Lt. General and the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, COAS.  She disclosed  that additional  N2.5 billion , was released to the military for the funding of the Theatre Counter-terrorism war in the north east.

Ndume: Chairman, Senate Committee On Army

The aggrieved Finance minister  may have shocked the Ndume’s Committee members when she reveald that  in 2020, N74.99 billion was released for military out of the N75 billion  that was said to have been appropriated for it.  Hajia Ahmed, who could no longer keep a closed lips on the military funding  and allowed her name to be dragged to the mud  had said  that  N38.99 billion have so far been released for the Theatre funding  out of the N100 billion appropriated for it. The breakdown shows that  N19.4 billion was released for the military funding under the current COAS, Lt. General. Ibrahim Atthahiru while the second tranche of the release of  N19.95 billion million was made in the second quarter of 2021.

Last March, some unnamed soldiers of a Battalion of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre  had protested  against  the non-payment  of their allowances  and poor equipment, which was captured by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, now suspended Channels Television.  The 66 soldiers  were said to have been Corut marshalled  and found guilty of the mutiny, thus made to face the Consequences of facing the firing squad.

 Note that the Private Television station  , had been suspended for daring the government  to invite an official of the Court Proscribed Indigenous of Biafra, IPOD, /Eastern Security Network, ESN, to their station to speak on the killing of  one Ikonso, regarded as the overall Commander of the Group, by the Joint operation of the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, Department of State Security, DSS, and  the soldiers of 82 Division personnel,  at their  Awomama Headquarters in Oru East Local government Area of Imo state, on Saturday, April,24, 2021.

 The NBC, may  not have found the invitation of the IPO, Chieftain , by Channels Television to their station funny. This may have informed why it has no option but to apply the sledge hammer on the station as a way of silencing it.

         It is instructive  to note that  the Financial releases which the Buhari Administration was said have  made towards the military funding between 2019 and now, to support the operations of the Operations of the Lafiya Dole  anti-Jihadist war in the north was different from the approved release of   $1 billion  from the country excess Crude account by the 36 states governor of the Federation  to procure arms to help  fight the BokoHaram and ISWAP ,insurgents, which remains a subject of debate till date.  

In spite   the claims and counter claims between the Military and and Hajia Ahmed, the minister of Finance, over the alleged shortfall in military  funding  over the last couple of years, Atthahiru, the COAS, may have known that as the current COASA, he  and his soldiers, coud not  afford to fail the nation  in crushing  the BokoHaram  and ISWAP  insurgents in the north east.

 He has told t those that cares to listen, that given the mandate  of the Nigerian President to the 7 Army Division, , Maimalari Cantonment/Operation Lafiya Dole, the Army remain Committed   to the focus of the Operations which ‘’is total  annihilation  of the insurgents from the two terrorist Groups operating in Nigeria. He maintained that the troops are ‘’committed to ending the war and  other insecurity challenges  facing the country  such as banditry and kidnapping among other violent Crimes’’.  

The COAS, may have gladdened the mind of Farouq Yahaya, a Major-General and the Theatre Commander and his soldiers, when he disclosed that Buhari, in his capacity as the Commander-In-Chief, C-In-C,  has given his words to provide them  with the needed  resources  required  to prosecute  the fight against  the insurgency in the north east and  other violent Crimes across the country.

Lt.Gen.Atthahiru: COAS

 Recall that Lucky irabor, a General , and the current Chief of Dence Staff, CDS and Atthahiru, the COAS, had one time or the other been the Commandesr of the Operation Lafiya Dole. They were said to have served under Yusuf Tukur Buratai, a retired Lt. General and former COAS.

Despite  the efforts being made by Buhari and his security Chiefs to curb  the crippling insecurity Challenges facing the country, Samuel Ortom,a one –time minister of State  , Trade and Investment, during the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan and now governor of Benue state, north central Nigeria, has added a new dimension to the country’s worsening insecurity  situation.

In an emotional outburst,he had accused Buhari of working in the interest of the Fulanis to take over Nigeria. He cited the recent killings of over 70 residents in different parts of the state by armed herdsmen. The governor, who could not hide his feelings  had said that’’ his  body language is only what is being displayed out as a president and C-In- C, of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  but his actions and inactions shows that he is the President of the Fulani people’’. I have known this , he had  said.

In his apparent reaction to the Benue governor’s remarks, against the Nigerian President,  Garba Shehu, senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, who may have spoken the mind of the President  who is not happy,  had accused Ortom of only ‘’seeing   the problems of others but could not see his own.

 He noted that the retired army General ‘’is saddened  by the killings  in the country as well as  the governors accusations’’.  He disclosed that the General, who is worried  over’’ the rising  levels  of killings and violence  in various parts of the country call for the Collaboration of the people  with the security agencies personnel to curb its continued occurrence’’ .

‘’The Buhari Administration is working to secure the nation’’, said. According to him, ‘’ no responsible government  takes pleasure  in seeing  such events as the killing of military personnel and that of innocent Citizens taking refuge  in an Internally Displaced Peple, IDP’s Camp’’. He had alluded to the fact that the Nigerian President has directed the Law Enforcement  agencies  to do everything within their powers to fish out the perpetrators  of these heinous acts and their sponsors  and bring them out to Justice.

 Many expect Usman Alkali Baba, the Yobe state born  acting Inspector of General of Police, who was  said to be the immediate Deputy Inspector General , of the Force criminal Investigation Department, FCID, to engage the services of the Police IRT, used in fishing out the Awomama Headquarters of the Court Proscribed  IPOD and their armed Wind, ESN,  to get the Benue killers.

A recent Statement made by Matawalle Bello, governor of the embattled Zamfara state in the north west Nigeria, that those sponsoring the Bandits in the bushes to carry out their attacks in the villages  are living in the Cities should serve as a guide to the Police IGP and his men to fish out the Benue Killers and save the country from such future embarrassments.

Stephen Ubanna

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