The N2.74 trillion earmarked for security in the 2023 Appropriations Act, according to Babajimi Benson, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defence, is insufficient.
He said that when expressed in US currency, the whole federal government budget, with estimates totaling N21.83 trillion, was negligible.
Benson, who is the House representative for Lagos State’s Ikorodu Federal Constituency, suggested that the capital portion of the security budget, particularly for the military forces, be removed from the existing envelope budgeting method.
The politician made this statement on Tuesday while participating in “Your View,” a TVC current affairs show. The 2023 Appropriations Bill, which the National Assembly passed last Wednesday and which the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret. ), had signed on Tuesday, had become a law.
When questioned if the budgeted sum for security was sufficient, Benson responded, “As you know, the 2023 budget was signed yesterday. It is around N21 trillion, and N2.74 trillion, or 13%, was designated for the defense industry.
“Yes, the money is huge. In fairness, you must continue to spend (on security). Show me a prosperous nation; you will see that security in that country is very high. The budget, though huge in naira terms; converting it to dollars makes it a bit insignificant.
“You must also be aware that personnel and other costs, the armed forces, is one of the agencies in the world that take care of you from when you join (them) till when you die. There is nothing that you buy from your pocket. Even your burial is taken over by the Nigerian Armed Forces. So, Mr President, in his kind wisdom, signed what is called ‘Manual of Financial Administration’, which is an enhancement of the welfare of men in service.
“These are our brothers and sisters who put their lives on the line to make us secure.”