The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has provided insights into the ongoing challenges in addressing terrorism despite the considerable annual budgetary allocations to the military.
During an interview on Arise TV on Tuesday night, General Musa highlighted the inadequacy of military equipment as a significant impediment. He pointed out that not all funds allocated to defence were released each year, hampering the military’s capacity to effectively combat terrorists.
Additionally, the Chief of Defence Staff pointed to the complicity of civilians collaborating with terrorists, supplying them with resources, and thereby thwarting the military’s efforts to bring an end to the conflict.
General Musa’s remarks followed his visit to a Kaduna community where an Army operation mistakenly resulted in the bombing of villagers on Sunday night.
Addressing the disparity between budgeted and released funds for defence, he explained that the 2024 Appropriation Bill allocated N3.25 trillion for defence, while in 2023, N2.98 trillion was earmarked, representing 13.4 per cent of the N21.83 trillion budget.
Highlighting the challenge of converting allocated funds to dollars for equipment purchase, General Musa emphasized the dependence on foreign currency for procuring military items. He cited examples such as the $1 billion released in the past, with $600 million dedicated to acquiring 12 Tucano fighter jets.
Acknowledging the need for self-sufficiency, General Musa mentioned President Bola Tinubu’s approval of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) bill, emphasizing the importance of domestic production to meet military requirements.
He concluded by affirming the military’s commitment to pushing forward despite limitations, with the anticipation that the establishment of an industrial complex for domestic production would significantly enhance their capabilities over time.