Defence Minister Demands Prayers from US not Scary Terror Alerts, Says Situation Under Control
November 1, 2022
Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Minister of Defence, Major Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd), Tuesday, told the House of Representatives Committee on Defence that what Nigeria needs right now from the United States government and other foreign countries were prayers rather than issuance of security alerts which had confused the citizens.
Magashi stated this during the ministry’s 2023 budget defence session in response to a question asked by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Babajimi Benson, on what the ministry was doing to contain the security alert recently issued by some foreign countries.
The minister while noting that the terror alert had caused more public hysteria and scared Nigerians, however assured that the threat was not so dire, and that the government, through its security and intelligence agencies, was on top of the situation.
Magashi said: “Other countries also are willing to do same. If you remember, yesterday, the security council met and we discussed this threat and it was believed that we will not take it lightly. We tried to verify the source of the threat or the pronouncement made by the US government. We tried to identify countries that were also interested in the same remarks made by the US government and we are of the opinion that the best way to go about it is to continue and where possible beef up security in Abuja and its contagious states, that is Nassarawa, Niger and the rest of them.
“However, we believe that there is no smoke without fire and in that regard, we were able to subject the details to our intelligence organizations and they have provided answers to those areas which the government in doubt and we realized that what we need is to be extra vigilant to prevent any activity of the bandits, from where the threat is likely, we will be able to provide enough forces that can neutralize those kinds of situations.
“I want to assure members that the government is on top of the situation. Based on security meeting and what we have on the ground, I think what we need is prayers from the United States, not giving us information that will make our citizens to be either confused or not being able to take appropriate action. And our minister of foreign affairs is taking that up to ensure that information of such nature is brought to the notice of the ministry before disseminating to the society. I think we are on top of the situation. The threat is not very dire and we are taking it lightly. We are doing all we can to ensure that peace and progress of Nigeria is maintained.”
For 2023 budget, the minister said the ministry was proposing the sum of N32,729,171,424.
According to him, while the sum of N15, 052, 063, 215 is for personnel cost, N2, 211, 743, 819 is for overhead and N15, 465, 364, 390 is for capital expenditure.
According to him, the view of the Ministry is that while the government has taken that option, for the Ministry it is much easier and better if the system is operated in a vertical manner to reduce duplication.
“The Ministry of defence as an omnibus ministry comprises the headquarters and her agencies which is the armed forces and the others. As it is now, the budget comes as a whole to the ministry under the mInister of defence. However the budget is further disaggregated into services, thereby making the Minister only responsible for the budget of the MOD headquarters. The situation is the Minister does not have direct influence on the other segments of the budget as it is now. It has its advantages and it has its disadvantages, which the Minster has been discussing with relevant authorities.
“We are operating now in an era of joint operations. Joint operations from the armed forces, from the defence academy, at the level of junior course, at the level of senior course, at the level of strategic course and of course at the field level. Therefore, it only makes sense that the country operates one armed force, especially at operational level. And that should also be reflected at the budgetary level, which we all know would reduce wastage and also enhance the capabilities of the armed forces and also make better use of our resources especially now that we have dwindling resources in the country,” he said
Earlier in his remarks, Committee Chairman, Hon. Babajimi Benson told the Minister that tension was brewing up in Abuja due to the security alerts, urging the Armed Forces of Nigeria to take note of it.
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