The Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Army after their previous call to the president to declare bandits as terrorist was basically ignored, has again called on President Buhari to declare bandits terrorists, hinting that it’ll enable the Nigerian Armed Forces to prosecute war against them and soon bring their carnage to an absolute end.
This call was made by The Chairman of the committee, Abdulrazak Namdas, at the time, 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.
It will be recorded that this would be the second time the committee has urged president Buhari to declare bandits as terrorist, which was a call that was initially made by the Senate weeks ago. But this time, the house of reps has urged the president to take the action within 24 hours. The House had on September 30, 2021, a day after the Senate passed the resolution, asked Buhari to designate bandits, who have dominated the North-West and parts of the North-Central geopolitical zones, and their sponsors as terrorists.
The lawmakers made the demand when the Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army in Minna, Niger State, came for budget defense earlier on Thursday.
Namadas while speaking at the budget defense said
“My committee members have said I should repeat what I said yesterday before TRADOC 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 and the Senate – have passed a resolution urging the President to also 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.”
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 the best if they were psychologically stable.
“It is our hope that the Armed Forces Fund Bill currently awaiting concurrence at the Senate, when passed and assented to by the President, will help tackle some of these major challenges”
Speaking to journalists after the closed-door session, Namdas criticised the amount allocated to the Nigerian Army in the 2022 Appropriation Bill for capital expenditure as inadequate.
“In 2021, the capital (expenditure) was N29bn; today, 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) 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.”