By OKOSUN DENNIS
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has said on Tuesday that the increasing cases of insurgency in the north east, and crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery and others police can deter now necessitate the demand for increased budgetary allocation and funding by the Federal Government to enable the military contain their menace.
Buratai made the statement in Lagos during his opening remarks at the ongoing 11th Biennial Training Conference of the Nigerian Army Finance Corps (NAFC) at the Command Officers Mess 11, in Apapa, Lagos.
The theme of the training is “Military Expenditure and Combat Readiness: Realistic Funding as A Panacea For Sustaining Nigerian Army Operations.
National Daily gathered that with the daunting challenges facing the army lately, there is the need to solicit for tremendous funding to enable it address them frontally.
Lt Gen Buratai explained, “Apart from containing the insurgency in the north east, the army has to deal with other challenges such as kidnapping, armed robbery/banditary and oil bunkering amongst others.
“This calls for concerted effort on the part of all its support elements to enable the Nigerian Army to achieve its goals.
“However, these effort can only be sustained through adequate funding,” he said.
While appreciating the government for its financial support, Buratai added that more financial assistance is needed due to the avalanche of crimes in the country.
“Apart from the ongoing insurgency operation in the north east, the army is also making efforts to contain other vices that constitutes threats to national security.
“This include the prevailing cases of kidnapping and armed robbery, communal clashes, activities of Fulani Herds men and secessionist agitation in some parts of the country.
“To this end, the army has embarked on internal security exercises in areas where such challenges are prevalent.
“I charge you to continuously embrace procedures and practices that would support the Nigerian Army in maximising available resources in order to improve on it’s capability to deal with present and future security threats,” he said.
On the training, Buratai said that it would provide opportunity for re-accessing the army’s performance in order to identify areas requiring improvement in its service delivery to the Nation.
“NAFC has evolved over time to become a success factor in the functioning of the Nigerian Army.
“The corps attained this feat because of its unique role as financial adviser and custodian/manager of Nigerian Army funds.
“Maintaining this position requires continuous effort at human capital development through effective training,” he said.
Buratai, however, said his intention was to exploit the advantages derived from the training to drive home his vision of having a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in its discharge of its constitutional roles.
“The vision is premised on SME core values which includes regimentation, welfare and training amongst others.
“Thus my vision envisages that training in all aspect of professional duties must be accorded its rightful place,” he said.
He adeed that the concept of probity, transparency and accountability had taken a front role in the conduct of government financial activities.
“It is my expectation that this training conference would enable NAFC officers to appreciate the enormity of the challenges being posed by inadequate funding, evolving government financial policies and the down turn in the national economy.
“Also to appreciate the expansion of the Nigerian Army occasioned by the approval of the 2016 Nigerian Army order of battle has further stretched the financial resources of the Nigerian Army,” he said.
He acknowledged the efforts of the corps towards efficient financial service delivery to the Nigerian Army.
“I want to particularly commend the improved modalities adopted in the payment of operation allowance to troops of operation Lafiya Dole.
“The ingenuity of establishing a dedicated data base for troops in operation and then adoption of a special payment portal by the Nigerian Army Finance Corps has succeeded in solving the herculean challenges associated with payments of operation allowance in the past,” he said.
Earlier, the Acting Chief of Account and Budget, Brig.-Gen. Jahaddi Ezra Jakko, said that the training conference had always been a platform for robust interaction and exchange of ideas amongst seasoned resource persons.
“It has particularly served as an avenue of updating personnel of the federal government financial policy, international financial best practices and their implications for the smooth operation of the army.
“The conference also provides the opportunity for the corps to be abreast with current methods of operation in a view to further devising ways to the corps to further reposition for optimal service delivery.
“The theme of this years conference is a direct follow up from the last conference and was deliberately chosen to initiate the implications of inadequate funding on army operations,” he said.
Jakko said that the growing internal security challenges across the country had expanded the scope of the army’s operations thereby over stressing its resources.
“The extensions of our lines of operation has therefore necessitated expansion of the army in order to increase coverage.
“Also, the operation has become more fluid owing to the establishment of mobile task forces, the Nigerian Army War College, the Nigerian Army aviation corps, Forward Operation Bases among others,” he said.
Jakko said extension of lines of operation brought corresponding demands for fund required to maintain equipments , structures and other assets acquired.
Present at the opening were top brass in the military both serving and retired officer of the corps and corp commanders.