Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, has asked the Federal Government to improve the funding of the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budgetary estimates to meet the challenge of curbing the Islamist insurgency in the country.
Burutai’s statement was part of a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 12th biennial training conference of the Nigerian Army Finance Corps in Uyo on Monday, where he explained that the army’s current funding was inadequate in view of the sensitive role it is playing in the country’s internal security.
Buratai was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham at the conference which theme “Expanding Roles of the Nigerian Army in internal Security Operations: Funding Imperatives”.
He said that the implementation of the Federal Government’s public sector financial reforms such as its cashless policy, treasury single accounts and integrated payroll and personnel information system has prevented leakages in the public sector.
He mentioned that some of those policies would affect the optimal performance of the Nigerian Army’s core competencies if not well managed, even as he gave the assurance that the Army would continue to ensure prudence and accountability in the utiliation of available financial resources.
“To this end, I authorised the establishment of Directorate of Audit and Financial Management (DAFM) which reports directly to my office,” he said.
“The essence is to ensure judicious application of all appropriated funds disbursed to Nigerian Army formations and units.
“The DAFM has supported the Nigerian Army in deriving value for money in its financial transactions and application of funds.”
He said that the Nigerian Army had devised new strategies to combat insurgents in the country, stressing that army personnel must continue to be loyal to constituted authority and subordinate themselves to civil rule.
Buratai added that in spite of the daunting challenges of the operations, the Nigerian Army has maintained a rugged determination to turn the tide against insurgents and that the Nigerian Army finance corps remains central to the performance and effectiveness of the army both in conflict and peace times.
Earlier in his remarks, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said that government alone could not fund the demands of the military, and as such the private sector should be brought in to assist.
Emmanuel, who was represented by Mr Akan Okon, Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, however, commended the army for their role in curbing insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and other security challenges confronting the country.
In his welcome address, the Chief of Account and Budget (Army), Maj.-Gen. Adekola Bakare, said that the theme was deliberately chosen to enunciate the challenges posed by inadequate funding of army operations in spite its expanding roles in internal security.
Bakare said that the conference would afford participants the opportunity to conduct a detailed appraisal of the current policies and procedures towards repositioning the Corps to provide transparent and efficient services to the Nigerian Army.