Insecurity: Nigerian military short of manpower, adequate funding

Nigerian troops 'kill 20 terrorists in Borno' -- Official

Nigeria’s military is understaffed and underfunded to tackle the various security challenges facing the country, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, has said.

Mr Magashi, who briefed journalists after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said he made a presentation at the meeting on the security challenges facing Nigeria.

“We spoke about our shortcomings. We talked about manpower shortage, inadequate funding for the Ministry of Defence. We talked about all the operations we have been conducting, the successes and failures of each of the operations right from Operation Lafia Dole to Operation Tawase.

“The shortcomings of each of the operations were discussed and God so kind contributions were made by members of the council and I think in no distant time there will be a change in the conduct of our affairs in the Ministry of Defence,” the retired major-general said.

Despite Mr Magashi’s claim of low funding for the military, the defence sector has for the past five years taken a large chunk of Nigeria’s budget, often larger than education and health. In the current 2020 budget, which is about to be amended, about N878 billion of the 10.59 trillion (about 8 per cent) was allocated to defence.

However, several officials, including army chief Tukur Buratai, have repeatedly complained that money is often not released for items and projects approved in the budget.

The Nigerian military is currently involved in multiple internal security operations across the country.

The military is battling the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east, armed bandits in the North-west and North-central, as well as militants and pirates in the South-south.

Many observers have raised concerns that a lot of the task the military is involved in should be police work but for the inadequacies of the Nigeria Police Force. Despite drafting the military to solve most of these security challenges, however, the insecurity across the country appears to worsen and hundreds of people are killed or kidnapped weekly across Nigeria.

In one of such recent attacks, PREMIUM TIMES reported how over 70 people were killed in Sokoto within when bandits attacked communities in Sabon Birni Local Government Area last week.

That attack, like others before it, has since been condemned by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In neighbouring Katsina State, armed men suspected to be bandits killed a district head and a party chairman on Monday.