We Lack Modern Weapons To Fight Insurgency – Service Chiefs

Following the deadly attacks unleashed on Dalori village in Borno State at the weekend by Boko Haram, the military has cried out, saying it lacks modern and sophisticated weapons to confront the insurgents.
The military’s disclosure came as a rude shock to many in view of the constant claim by the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the insurgency thrived under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan because it diverted funds meant for arms procurement or bought substandard equipment, and consequently exposed Nigerians in the North-east and soldiers to danger.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, also recently claimed that the current administration had supplied the military with new weapons to contain the insurgency.
According to a statement by Senate President Bukola Saraki’s Media Office, the revelation was made to the leadership of the Senate on Wednesday during its meeting with service chiefs, in reaction to the deadly attacks on Dakori.
During the meeting, the service chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin, were said to have briefed the senators on the various challenges confronting the military, particularly the poor state of their equipment which they said required serious upgrading and restocking.
The statement further said they complained that N29 billion appropriated for security in the 2015 supplementary budget had not been released to them almost two months after it was hurriedly approved by the National Assembly.
The situation, the military added, was hampering its ability to fund their operations.
Other issues that came up for discussion, according to the statement, was the need to continuously increase the personnel in the three branches of the military and the hindrance posed by the procurement process which they said was very slow.
The military chiefs were also said to have canvassed the need for a review of some laws governing their operations to enable them respond to emergency situations in the North-east zones in accordance with global best practices.
The statement added: “The leadership of the Senate and chairmen of committees relating to security agencies yesterday (Wednesday) held a meeting with heads of the military to review the developments in the fight against the insurgency in the North-east zone particularly in the wake of the recent vicious attack on Dalori town in Borno State.
“At the closed-door meeting which lasted for about two hours and was presided over by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, several issues tailored at further empowering the security agencies to win the war against the Boko Haram insurgency were discussed in a frank and open exchange between the two sides.
“The need for regional support for the fight against the insurgency in the North-east by the neighbouring countries, resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their traditional homes, the issue of intelligence gathering and sharing among the various agencies, and mobilisation of the international community, particularly through inter-parliamentary efforts in support of the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, were also discussed.
“The senators assured the military chiefs that they would fast-track the request for the review of the relevant laws by putting them on the priority bills list once they were given adequate information on areas that need to be amended.
“They also promised to take up the issue of release of funds raised by the military chiefs with the Ministry of Finance immediately. The Committees on Defence, Finance and Appropriation have also been mandated to ensure that the issues raised by the service chiefs are taken care of in the budget.
“The senators noted that at this point when the nation has recorded serious gains in the fight against insurgency, all hands must be on deck to sustain the tempo against the violent group.”
The meeting was attended by Saraki, his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader Ali Ndume, Majority Whip Francis Alimikhena, Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy Isa Hama Misau, and his colleague in the Committee on Air Force, Duro Faseyi. However, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Ahmed Lawan, was absent.
General Olonishakin led the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, his colleague in the Navy, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, and the Air Force, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, to the meeting.