2017 Budget Defense: Reps query Buratai over poor state of Nigerian Army Barracks

The House of Representatives has queried the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai over what it described as poor condition of military barracks inhabited by Nigerian soldiers.

The House Committee on Army expressed this displeasure on Tuesday when Buratai appeared before it to defend the 2017 budget proposal of the Nigerian Army.

The committee is chaired by a member from Taraba State, Hon. Kwewum Rimamnde Shawulu.

The army was allocated N152.8bn out of the N465.8bn Defence budget for 2017.

The committee said there was no provision for the rehabilitation or building of new barracks for soldiers, while demanding answers from Buratai.

Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, a member of the committee lamented that soldiers in the South-South and South-East were mostly affected by this plight.

She said the committee recently embarked on a tour of barracks and met the families of soldiers living in “horrible accommodation.”

She added, “the barracks are horrible, especially in the Uyo-Calabar axis; the accommodation is not there for the soldiers.

“You can’t possibly expect them to give their best if you subject your soldiers to this situation where there is no proper accommodation.

“Nothing is reflected in this 2017 budget for the barracks. Are you telling this committee that the Army doesn’t even consider the condition of the barracks a top priority?

“We need these answers, please, from the Army.”

Rep. Shawulu waded in to overrule that his group will reconstitute a technical committee in alliance with their colleagues from the senate to make further findings.

Shawulu also intervened and adopted a proposal by members that Buratai should be excused until the technical committee had concluded its assignment.

He said, “There are issues that will require more detailed work.

“The Senate and the House will have this technical committee to examine all the issues.

“Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff should just take a bow and go.”

Buratai had earlier told the committee of efforts made by the army to combat terrorism.

He stated, “Currently, the Nigeria Army is deployed in about 32 states fighting to eradicate terrorism, cattle rustling, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, armed banditry and communal clashes among others.”

Also, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai said the Nigeria Army would recruit 12,000 men this year to boost its operations across the country.

Buratai, said the recruitment exercise would take place after the approval of the Army’s 2017 budget proposal of N152.8 billion.

He said the recruitment exercise would be in two batches with 6,000 men in the first instance and another 6,000 later.

Buratai said the Nigerian Army was currently engaged in different operations in 32 states of the federation, fighting criminalities such as kidnapping, terrorism, pipeline vandalism, cattle rustling, among others.

He also told lawmakers that lack of prompt release of funds was hampering military operations nationwide, adding that they needed to boost the morale of troops regularly.

He said the army face many challenges, which in some instances necessitated the deployment of Quick Response Groups to troubled areas and establishment of new units in some cases.

Some members of the committee, chaired by Rep Rima Shawulu (PDP, Taraba), lamented the poor living conditions of men of the Nigerian Army, calling on Buratai to ensure the provision of good accommodation for his men.

The budget defence could not continue as lawmakers resolved to constitute a subcommittee, comprising senators from the Senate Committee on Army, to thrash some technical details contained in the proposal.

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