OLOWU of Kuta, His Royal Highness, Oba Adekunle Hammed Makama, Tegbosin II, has called for an upward review of the budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Army.
This was in support of the comment by the chairman of the senate committee on the Army, Senator Ali Ndume, who said that the National Assembly will adjust the defence budget to meet security challenges.
In a statement issued at the weekend by his media office, the Osun monarch maintained that he has always canvassed for better funding for the Nigerian Army in order to meet the challenges of fighting the asymmetric war.He said the 120billion budgeted for the Army for 2020 is grossly inadequate.
Oba Makama in his various interventions on the need to support the Nigerian Army in the past has canvassed for increasing funds in terms of procuring the modern equipment and also to boost the morale of our gallant troops.
He maintained that his priority as a Royal Father is to ensure secure and safe country as that remains the condition precedent for economic prosperity, adding that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of insecurity.
Oba Makama who saluted the courage and professionalism of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai in the face of daunting task to contain the Boko Haram and banditry in the North West pleaded with politicians across board not to play politics with our Armed Forces being the symbol of our unity.
“As I have said before now, our troops need our individual and concerted support through prayers and positive comments from our religious leaders of both faith and all well-meaning patriotic Nigerians.
“A situation whereby their efforts are greeted with scornful remarks would naturally kill their morale and also incapacitate their spirit to fight and get desired results.
“We should all say ‘No’ to fake news emanating from some faceless rights organisations whose interest is not in alignment with that of Nigerian masses. These groups, which masquerade as concerned bodies, are perceived to be all out to do all they can to sustain the problem in a bid to satisfy their parochial interest.
“It must be stated that these groups cannot claim to love Nigeria more than Nigerians, and love their country more than they(Nigerians) do. So, it is high time we insulated our Armed Forces from external and their internal collaborators because Nigeria is greater than any of us.
“At this point, I will like to clamour for a massive increase in the budgetary allocation to the Defence ministry, this will enhance an accelerated equipping of our Armed Forces to meet up with the demand of modern day and conventional warfare.
“We hereby call on International community not to fold their hands and watch Nigerian face insurgency and counter terrorism alone. We have seen how they collectively rally round to defeat ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan. France can play a major role being the colonial master of most of the neighbouring countries around us.
“We have to realise that Nigeria belongs to all us, Nigeria is older than most of us, and Nigeria will still outlive most of us. The best we should individually and collectively do is to contribute our quotas in leaving Nigeria better than we met it,” he said.
It will be recalled that Senator Ali Ndume, on Thursday, said the National Assembly will adjust the defence budget to meet current security challenges in the country.
Ndume said in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna that the allocation for the Armed Forces contained in the 2020 Budget proposal before the National Assembly was grossly inadequate in view of the current security challenges.
Ndume led joint members of the National Assembly on fact-finding mission, needs assessment and oversight to Army formations in Kaduna State.
Although N100 billion was allocated to the defence sector in the budget, the Senator said the amount, which is less than one per cent of the total budget size, was grossly inadequate.
“There is nothing more important than security to Nigerians. Even if half of that budget is to be spent on security, they will be glad, because if you are not secured, all other things will not work.
“We have security challenges in this country and Nigerian Army is in the forefront of trying to address the challenges.
“We have gone round to see for ourselves and now we paid courtesy visit to the governor and we also sought for his assistance to make sure that we all put hands on deck to tackle the security challenges.
“Now that the budget is before us, we will surely try to make adjustment so that the budget for defence will be something that will make a difference.
“A country that is not secured is not a country, and the Nigerian Army which is saddled with the responsibility of securing the territorial integrity of the country will be useless if within the country is not secured,” he stressed.
The senator, however, expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari and the executive will take another look at the provisions made for defence even without the intervention of the National Assembly.