Nigeria’s Defence Chief Seeks Budgetary Support for Armed Forces

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Musa, on Tuesday, sought more budgetary allocation for the Armed Forces to enable it to discharge its constitutional responsibilities.

This came as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, has launched a probe into allegations of poor feeding of troops in the North-east.

Musa made the appeal during a courtesy call on the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, in his office in Abuja., where he requested for budgetary appropriation to enable the completion of the armed forces complex permanent site.

He also called on the minister to assist the AFN to sort out accommodation deficits in the barracks and military bases by ensuring budget allocation for that purpose.

The CDS further assured the minister of the commitment of the armed forces to rid the country of criminals and make Nigeria and Nigerians safer.

In his response, the minister thanked Musa for the visit and congratulated him on his appointment.

He appreciated and commended the AFN for their pivotal role in stabilising security in the nation and for rising to the overall security challenges despite some constraints.

He assured the Armed Forces of Nigeria of his ministry’s support, while adding that the budget cycle must consider critical security challenges.

A statement by the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen Tukur Gusau, said Badugu also expressed confidence in the ability of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to surmount all the security challenges bedeviling the country.

Meanwhile, Lagbaja, launched a probe into allegations of poor feeding of troops in the North-east.

A statement by the Army Spokesman, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Nigerian Army took the allegations seriously, and that Lagbaja, had “directed immediate investigation into the complaints to ascertain its veracity and unravel the circumstances.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to assure the public  and all Nigerian Army personnel that a thorough investigation will be conducted to get to the bottom of these claims.”

According to the statement, the army was “committed to transparency and accountability, and will not condone any form of negligence or misconduct. If any culpability is detected, it will attract appropriate disciplinary action. Immediate corrective measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future will be taken.”

It said the Lagbaja-led leadership of the army prioritized welfare of troops.

“The Nigerian Army has always prioritised the welfare of troops, including their nutrition. There is a comprehensive system in place to ensure that troops receive adequate and balanced meals, especially those serving at the frontline and the meals are prepared under strict quality control measures. We, however, acknowledge that there may be isolated incidents where lapses occur, and we are determined to squarely address them.

“An internal investigation has already been initiated to ascertain the truth behind these allegations. We will thoroughly examine the supply chain, the quality of food provided, and any other factors that may have contributed to this situation,” it said.

The statement called on personnel to report any issues they may have with regards to their feeding to the authorities.

“We also encourage  Nigerian Army personnel to report any grievances or concerns they may have regarding their feeding arrangements. We have established channels for feedback and will take prompt action to address any legitimate complaints.

“The Nigerian Army remains resolute in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges. Consequently, we will ensure that our gallant soldiers are provided with the necessary support and care they require to carry out their duties effectively.

“We are committed to ensuring that our troops are well-fed, motivated, and equipped to defend our nation,” it said.

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja