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$1billion Fund: Politicizing Security

By Adeolu Oyebode
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If there is one fundamental reason why Nigeria has not been able to overcome the war against insurgency, it is because we politicize everything, including security. When Bokoharam started in 2002 before Mohammed Yusuf was killed in 2009, the sect was seen as some ‘hard guys’ used by politicians and at some point, the likes of Senator Alimodu Sheriff and Senator Ali Ndume were alleged to be the sponsors of this group. Unfortunately, the group wasn’t checked until it became a world known terrorist group in 2011 when the UN building was bombed. Rather than all political interest groups and stakeholders to rise up to map out strategies to defeat this monster, the then ACN spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the PDP as a failed party while the latter alleged the former as the sponsor of the group so as to hijack power. On the other side also, President Goodluck Jonathan was described as a kindergarten president because his effort to negotiate the release of the Chibokgirls failed; a situation which later played out with Dapchi girls whereby the Buhari-led government was also mocked to have staged the kidnap and release of the over 100 girls of Dapchi.

Just as Nigerians are still finding it tough to analyze the strategic statement credited to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed that “Bokoharam has been technically defeated”, the splinter argument of whether or not the need for a $1billion (N360,000,000,000) is needed at all or it could end up to be like the previous funds siphoned for election purposes: a case study of the $2.1billion Dasuki arms deal, the seized $15m meant for arms purchase at Lanseria Airport of Johannesburg on 5th of September 2014, and the transfer of $300million and £5.5m to the office of the ONSA by the Finance Minister,coupled with the way Nigerian Governors at all level extort her citizenry on the ground of providing security through the unconstitutional security votes and the experience of Nigerians about these two chunk sums during the immediate past regime of President Goodluck Jonathan has been a trauma and has betrayed the trust of government in combating insurgency.

Even though a larger percentage of the $2.1b meant for arms purchase under the coordination of the ONSA was used to prosecute the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti andOsun and 2015 Presidential reelection of Mr. President, I think it is unfair to also say that the office of the National Security Adviser didn’t purchase any arms at all, because as a matter of fact and with documents available, the Nigeria Air Force via a memo dated 28/11/2014 referenced NAF/905/D/CAS acknowledged that 4x Alpha jets aircrafts and helicopters were delivered to the NAF. NAF also confirmed the receipt of 2xTri Shield 36DG Tactical radars, F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2.8m and $1.2m as freight cost, and at another time five containerized fuel storage and dispensing units with equipments. The Nigeria Army on her part also acknowledged the receipt of 14 armored tanks, N30m for RCA, CCTV cameras at the Brigade Headquarters, 2 Backscatter bomb detection vans, among other logistic supports as at November 2014.

Rather, the beneficiaries of the loot should be prosecuted and jailed, so that the public trust can be regained.The likes of Senator MusiliuObanikoro who coordinated the Ekiti and Osun disbursement, and thebeneficiaries of the loot who have decamped from the PDP to the APC have been pardoned ‘technically’ and this brings about the trust issues with subsequent funds that may be expended forthwith on security.

The most unfortunate of this situation of paying much attention to the security is to the effect that the Nigeria Military has been compromised over time as evident in a report that some of the top echelon of the military involved in the phoney arms deal has lost their command positions and made to face the EFCC for further investigation.

The question then throws up that “Do we need another $1billion for arms purchase”? YES! As a matter of fact there is no better time than now. It is a statement of fact that from the much hyped $2.1b Dasuki arms deal, about $300m could be said to be judiciously spent for the purpose of arms purchase.No amount of money is too much to fight war and insurgency.The cheapest war is most expensive than the costliest peace. While some people are against the controversial insurgency fund, their basis is boiled down to politics. Some of the anti-insurgency fund apologists are doing this believing that the fund will be used to prosecute 2019 election…what a defeatist fear of the unknown! While a few are looking at these strategic matter from the point of law that the Excess Crude Account belonged to all and couldn’t be used to rescue the Northeast, and the approval of the National Assembly is needed. This further confirms that the apostles of this school of thought never saw oneness in the nation that we are strong as a united people and an injury to one is an injury to all.

From the explanation of the Vice President, Prof. YemiOsinbajo, the $1billion will be used to tackle the security challenges of armed robbery, small arms trafficking, bokoharam terrorist’s activities, herdsmen and farmers clashes, cattle rustling, kidnapping among others.

In my own perspective, I am of the strong opinion that the $1billion should be used for just three issues: 1. Arms Purchase for Military (Ministry of Defence) and Paramilitary (Ministry of Interior) in fighting Bokoharam Insurgents/Territorial security and Internal Affairs respectively, 2. Intelligence Gathering, and3. Herdsmen v Farmers Clashes.

It is high time we stopped politicizing security matters in this country. Terrorists will not ask of your political party before bombing. Terrorists will not ask if you are a Southerner or Northerner, neither will the deadly monster ask if you are a Muslim or Christian. The Nigerians killed are fathers, wives, mothers, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of some people. The blood of the army officers and soldiers, civil defence officers who have sacrificed their lives for this nation begs for a collective spirit in fighting this quagmire together.

AdeoluOyebode writes on Internal Security.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @adeoluoyebode

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