The Nigerian Army has said that about seven months after the sum of $1 billion was approved by the Federal Government to fight Boko Haram and other security threats across the country, it was yet to access its share of the fund. It regretted that the fund was still domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even as he assured that efforts were being made by the Ministry of Defence to facilitate the release and consequent application. It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had, sometime in April, given approval for the release of $1 billion, for the purchase of arms and other equipment, to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. However, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the Army had yet to receive the cash, contrary to expectations.
The COAS, who said the process for the release of the fund had begun, pledged that the right equipment would be procured, once the service accessed the cash. “You know the process of funding is another major issue. The bureaucracy and so on is another issue. Approvals are given, but before you really get the money out is another challenge. “So, the people are talking or the media have been talking of $1 billion that has been approved, but I tell you up till today the fund that is supposed to come from that amount to the army in particular, is still in CBN.
“The Ministry of Defence is yet to access the fund, while people say the funds are with the military; no, it is still with CBN. “When the ministry of defence gets the funds, the process is on right now, they will get the right equipment for us as proposed,” the army chief said. Meanwhile, Buratai has lamented the phenomenon of fake news and the danger it posed to national security Specifically, the Army Chief noted, with regret, the negative effect of fake news on the on-going counter- terrorism and counterinsurgency war in the North-East. Speaking in an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the COAS said: “It (fake news) is inimical to national security; it is inimical to the morale of the troops and by and large, it is one of the demoralising factors making the counterinsurgency operation more difficult,” he said.
To this end, the threestar general warned purveyors of fake news to desist from the unwholesome practice, saying that propaganda was a platform that helps to sustain suspected terrorists and their nefarious activities. According to Buratai, through propaganda, terrorist elements propagate their ideology, even as they create the impression that they were “untouchable, invincible or have capacity that they do not possess. “Nigerians must be very careful not to fall to their antics by condemning their actions and propaganda, and support the efforts of the military, especially the Nigerian Army,” he said.