Controversies arise as Nigerian President approves $1billion for weapon acquisition

In a bid to curb the security menace that threatens the peace of the nation, the Nigerian government has approved $1 billion for the procurement of arms.

Nigeria’s Defense Minister, Mansur Dan Ali, on Wednesday, confirmed this while he briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting President Muhammadu Buhari had with security chiefs to review cases of violent unrest and conflicts in different parts of the country.

The fund is to be sourced from the country’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) as approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) in 2017, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the procurement authorization has been questioned by top government officials who are of the opinion that the president lacks the unilateral power to spend money from the ECA.

“It will be illegal and against the principle of federalism that operates in Nigeria for the president, who is the head of just one of the federating units, to approve the spending of funds belonging to the three tiers of government without the consent of the heads of other federating units,” a State governor, Ayodele Fayose said in reaction to the development.

Likewise, a member of the Senate, Ben Murray-Bruce countered Buhari’s approval by citing the need to get authorization from the National Assembly before the $1 billion can be spent.

“It has not been approved, it is simply the choice of words, and the presidency or the executive cannot spend a single kobo on such a mission unless the National Assembly approves that. It is only when the Senate or the National Assembly approves that, that the executive can go ahead to spend such amount of money,”  the Senator said.

However, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, told the Guardian that “Nigeria cannot afford to continue to depend solely on the developed nations for all its military equipment in view of the attendant funding constraints, diplomatic and bureaucratic bottlenecks.”

Insecurity in Nigeria

Africa’s most populous country in the last few years has witnessed drastic and frantic insecurity challenges and other violent criminal activities. Notable amongst this challenges include the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen crisis that is currently rocking the nation. This has made national security threat to be a major issue for the government and has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security.

A new Army Division has been established in one of the Northern States, to tackle rising insecurity in the North-West region of the nation that has been plagued with the insurgency.

“Well, as usual, we have operationalized a Division in Sokoto, there will be a Brigade in Katsina and another Brigade in Zamfara that will take care of the security situation in that area,” Ali said.

With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, citizens have often questioned the possibility of having a secured nation.

Some would argue that the government has not done enough in handling the situation decisively, while others are of the opinion that security situation in the country has a political undertone calculated to serve political interest of people who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about political manifestations in the country.

However, there is need to strive to get to a level where crimes will be nipped in the bud before they are perpetuated, so as to create an enabling environment where the country will itself be safe to achieve sustainable development.