The Senate and House of Reps Committees on the Nigerian Army on Tuesday visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai and Principal Staff Officers, following the conclusion of their visit to Army Commands and formations nationwide to ascertain the readiness and capabilities of the Nigerian Army towards fulfilling its mandate to the nation.
Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume and Deputy Chairman, Sen. Abba Moro led the Senate committee which included the Clerk of the committee while Chairman, Reps Committee on Army, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas and his Deputy, Hon Tajudeen Adefisoye led the House Committee which included the Clerk.
Speaking before the NASS members went into a closed session with the Army hierarchy, Senator Ndume said the Committees are very proud of the massive development of infrastructure, discipline and organization noticed in all the formations and commands they visited.
“I am a barracks boy. I grew up in the barracks because my father was a soldier so I know what the Army used to be in the past and what it is now. What we have seen in Zaria, in Maiduguri and other commands and from our interactions with officers and soldiers, it is very encouraging and we are proud of the Army”.
“However, we observed that there are serious challenges like accommodation and even equipment to meet up with the task placed on the soldiers of the Nigerian Army”.
On his part, Hon Namdas said the committee was impressed with the professionalism of Nigerian soldiers citing the visit to Operation Lafiya Dole where the Theatre Commander, Major General Adeniyi showed them vehicles rehabilitated and constructed by the Nigerian Army, like the MRAVs to fight terrorists which are being spearheaded by the Chief of Army Staff at Command Engineering Depot.
While noting that the entire Budget for the armed forces of Nigeria is N100billion, Hon Namdas said for a military that is currently prosecuting a war and needed equipment and weaponry to achieve its objectives, there is need for more funding.
“N100billion when we are in a war situation is not sufficient. We have to find alternative ways of funding apart from the general government budgetary process because the nation relies heavily on the Army for security”.
Responding, Lt. Gen Buratai said he was happy that both houses of National Assembly hit the road on resumption of duty without waste of time, and have started making efforts to address the major challenges facing the Army.
“What you have seen is a true reflection of the Nigerian Army of today. They are professional, loyal and committed. We have made efforts to expand the Nigerian Army in line with its present Order of Battle (ORBAT).
“We have ensured that we sustain all our training exercises and we have not missed any since 2015 and 2016. There was no quarter that we did not conduct our training exercises”.
“You are aware of such exercises like Exercise Egwu Eke now Exercise Atilogwu Udo, Exercise Ayem Akpatuna, Exercise Crocodile Smile, Exercise Harbin Kunama. These are training exercises that have enhanced the professional competence of troops”.
“For us to continue to meet up with this responsibility and other tasks being placed on us requires funding. We are therefore happy that you are looking at alternative sources of funding for our activities and operations”.
Buratai added, “I want to assure you that Nigerian Army is loyal and committed and we will always subject ourselves to the supremacy of the constitution and civil authority”.
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