Fred Itua, Abuja
The anti-insurgency war in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states may suffer a setback following the slashing of budget earmarked for Operation Lafiya Dole.
The original amount proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the revised 2020 budget was N100 billion. However, Senate Committee on Appropriation yanked off N25 billion it.
Daily Sun gathered that the action was taken without recourse to relevant committees that oversight the budget of the Army. It was further learnt that appeals by some concerned senators that the amount be either increased or approved as presented were rebuffed.
A senator expressed the fear that the reduction could affect the supply of equipment leaving soldiers to fight without the right motivation.He said the Army was yet to get a dime for its capital projects since the commencement of the implementation of the 2020 budget.
“Everyday, president of the Senate tells us how he’s worried about the spate of insecurity, but he approved the slashing of the same money needed for this war. How can you verbally support something and do otherwise? It doesn’t make sense. The president of the Senate is from Yobe State, which is also an epicentre of Boko Haram war. As someone who is directly affected, what I expected from him was to have even increased the budget since allowances and other logistics for this war are gotten from this.
“We have about 30,000 soldiers in the North East fighting this war and they get their allowances and other things front this money. If you take out N25 billion, what do you have left? So, if tomorrow our troops are unable to fight this war, hold the leadership of the Senate accountable,” said the senator.
Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, did not respond to calls or text messages sent to his active mobile lines.
In recent weeks, insurgents have carried out major attacks in the North East, where scores of civilians and soldiers reportedly killed. On Saturday, scores of women and children were abducted in some villages in Borno State.