The House of Representatives Committee on Army has again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists to enable the Nigerian Armed Forces to prosecute war against them. The Chairman of the committee, Abdulrazak Namdas, made the call when the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, appeared before the committee to defend the budget proposed for 2022 in Abuja on Friday, November 5, 2021.
It was the second time the committee is warning President Muhammadu Buhari to take the action within 24 hours. The House had on September 30, 2021, a day after the Senate passed the resolution, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to designate bandits, who have dominated the North-West and parts of the North-Central geopolitical zones, and their sponsors as terrorists organization.
The lawmakers made the demand when the Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army in Minna, Niger State, came for budget defence earlier on Thursday last week. Abdulrazak Namdas while speaking at the budget defence said;
“My committee members have said I should repeat what I said yesterday, that they are a training institution and we charge them to train more on terrorism and banditry because these are actually challenging issues.
That was the main reason why we in the National Assembly, both the House of Representatives and the House of Senate, have passed a resolution urging President Muhammadu Buhari to designate bandits as terrorists so that it can enable the Army to tackle the challenge headlong.
We know at the moment that there are technical challenges with using our equipment because of certain conditions. At least, we urge the President to please help sign this because right now, the activities of bandits are getting even more sophisticated, more than even what is happening in the North-East,” he stated.
Abdulrazak Namdas also observed that the morale of officers and men of the Nigerian Army was low in terms of accommodation, noting that they could only be in their best if they were psychologically stable.
While speaking to journalists after the closed-door session, Abdulrazak Namdas criticized the amount allocated to the Nigerian Army in the 2022 Appropriation Bill for capital expenditure as inadequate. According to him;
“In 2021, the capital expenditure for the armed forces was N29bn as of today, but in 2022, it is N28bn. So, instead of moving up, it is going down. Actually, the money is very small. There is a need for us to sit down and see how we can help the Army move forward.
“Agreed, we have done enough in the supplementary budget, but the capital component of it for the whole 2022 is N28bn. We can’t do much with the money.”
Another challenge we are faced with is that, even if you have 100 per cent of the money on the ground, you have to place an order. Army equipment is not something you buy over the shelf.
“Even when you placed an order for a Tucanos, it took you how many years to get here? Even if you budget this year and you go and inspect certain things, you will not see them immediately because they come based on the timing that is allowed,” he stated.
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