The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has told the National Assembly that the budget for the army needs to be increased by N18. 177 billion to enable it effectively fight against terrorism, pipeline vandalism and other security challenges facing the country. Buratai made the statement on Thursday, January 18, during a budget defence session with the House committee on army, the Nation reports. The army chief also advocated for the army to be removed from the envelop budget ceiling system adopted by the Budget Office of the Federation. He said the envelop budgeting system was making the army ineffective operationally and this is against the grains of current reforms being carried out. Buratai said “My passionate appeal for N18.177 billion over the ceiling capital appropriation, if approved by this hallowed chamber will enable the Army procure the strategic assets and platforms needed to support the implementation of ORBAT 2016. “This will also boost the operational activation of the newly established Divisions (6,7, and 8), cater for the deficiency of arms, ammunitions as well as uniforms to kit the NA personnel. “I wish to state that the approval will ultimately enhance the functionality of the Nigerian Army Aviation corps which is established to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Airforce and Joint Task Force (JTF) to combat terrorism, pipeline vandalism and other security challenges”
Bearing in mind the current challenges being faced by the army in tackling insurgency in the country, the lawmakers agreed that there was need for the army to have some measure of budgetary flexibility, and agreed to remove it from the envelop budgeting system. Meanwhile, a stakeholders meeting on the reintegration of ex-Boko Haram fighters into the society was held on Thursday, January 18, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja. Tagged Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC), it was established to create opportunity for willing surrendered and repentant Boko Haram fighters to undergo De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Re-integration (DRR) programme to facilitate their return to normal life.
It was gathered that in July 2017, 95 ex-Boko Haram fighters were admitted into the camp for the mandatory 16 weeks DPR programmes involving therapies, psycho-social, psycho-spiritual & art therapies as well as drug use intervention, elementary formal education and recreational activities.