The Ministry of Defence said yesterday that the involvement of army officers in tackling the internal security problems caused by the Boko Haram sect, the military was still battle-ready to counter any external threat to the country.
Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, who made this declaration while briefing State House Correspondents after presenting her report of the ministry’s budget performance to President Goodluck Jonathan, allayed the concerns about the high level of involvement of military personnel in handling the challenges of terrorism inflicted by the Islamic fundamentalist sect.
Assuring that all arms of the military still had enough troops to be deployed for action if there is any threat of external aggression, she said, “On the issue of Boko Haram, I can assure you that we can. Nigerian Armed forces, I can assure you, must be one of the best trained in the world, always combat-ready. And I can assure you that we have the officers and men to address any external threats at any point in time if any body wants to provoke us.
“We must give kudos to our men in uniform in the armed forces of Nigeria for taking part in all these internal security arrangements, because it got to a point that they just had to be brought in. You can imagine what would have happened if they had not been part of the arrangement for the internal security that we have. So we must appreciate their efforts and contribution.”
On the performance of the ministry’s 2012 budget Obada said, “The sum of N45.4 billion was appropriated to the ministry and a total sum of N12.5billion was released in the first and second quarter. We then say that the percentage of funds utilized from the amount realeased was 95.4% while the percentage f the funds released from the annual bubudgets 27.6%”.
Obada also disclosed that an envelop of N50 billion has been allocated to the ministry of defence for its capital projects in the 2013 budget.
She added that for the 2013 budgeta, the philosophy of the ministry is to ensure the completion of ongoing priority projects that are critical to the Defence sector in line with it’s key performance indicator and for this some new projects which are regarded as operational imperatives and that are critical to the functionality of ongoing projects will be postponed.
She said, “To this end an envelop of N50 billion has been allocated to the ministry for its capital projects. But the continuation of the 2012 budget projects will continue and the new projects for 2013 will also be taken care of.
“A few of the new projects include jetties, construction of garrison command accommodation for officers and soldiers by Defence headquarter , provision of life support ambulance boats, upgrade of avionics, our aircraft, the charley, the C130 and the establishment of a quick response force by the Nigerian Airforce, construction of command headquarters and barracks accommodation for the new mobility command in Yenegoa by the Airforce, construction and furnishing of additional cadet hostel at the permanent site Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna amongst others”.