The House of Representatives has taken steps towards establishing a special support fund for the nation’s armed forces in the face of the lingering security challenges.
A bill seeking to create a special intervention fund for the security forces, aside the annual budgetary allocations, sponsored by Hon. Babajimi Benson and six others scaled second reading on Thursday, and was subsequently referred to the Committee on Defence by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, for further legislative action.
Leading debate on its general principles and on behalf of his colleagues, Benson argued that no nation rely wholly on its annual budget for the armed forces to combat crimes and fight insecurity.
“Nigeria has witnessed diverse and unprecedented level of insecurity in the recent times in which the Nigerian Armed Forces have been fully involved. They include curbing the menace of kidnappings, robbery, herder-farmers clashes, protection of the nation’s oil resources in the Niger Delta, banditry in the Northwest and most of all, the lingering boko haram insurgency in the Northeast. This is apart from other security issues like cultism, oil bunkering, cattle rustling, piracy and smuggling that the Armed Forces are usually summoned to help contain.
“In the last fifteen years, the Nigerian military have been involved in thirteen operations and four exercises. Coping with all these are, no doubt, an enormous task that requires a robust, well-trained, well-equipped and efficient Armed Forces.
“On the external front, Nigeria is contending with the international dimension and view of domestic insurgency as well as drug and human trafficking, illegal immigration and movement of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)”, he said.