Insecurity: Why NASS must pass Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund Bill – Kalu

By Haruna Salami

The House of Representatives has said that the passage of the Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund Bill, would go a long way to strengthen the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.

The Spokesman, Rep. Benjamin Kalu said this when he unfolded the legislative plans of the House for tackling insecurity, during the 2021 fiscal year.

The Bill was sponsored by the member representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Rep. Babajimi Benson.

Kalu, in an interview with journalists in Abuja this weekend, said the House of Representatives had already come up with a comprehensive approach to tackle the problem of insecurity in Nigeria.

“We have set for ourselves, certain measurable actions for the short, mid and long term to ensure that Nigerians and their property are secured”, he said.

Shedding light on the national security action plan already adopted by the Green Chamber,  Rep. Kalu listed the provision of “funding in the 2021 and 2022 budget for recruitment and training of new security operatives to strengthen the security sector workforce.

“Enact legislation and appropriate funds in the 2021 and 2022 budgets to fund the implementation of community policing, civil-military relations, and crime prevention.

“Approve the procurement of modern security equipment in line with the Defence Procurement Policy.

“Enact laws to support structured funding of the Armed Forces to improve military readiness and enhance our capacity to respond to present and emerging threats to national security,” he said.

Speaking specifically on the seemingly unending insurgency in the Northeast as well as the herders/farmers clashes in the Middle belt and Southern part of Nigeria, Rep. Kalu decried the lack of adequate equipment for the Nigerian security agencies in the face of daunting challenges before it.

“For over a decade, Nigeria has contended with a recalcitrant insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country that continues to transform, adapting itself to changing circumstances, yet remaining a significant threat to lives and property, and a drain on limited national resources. 

“Similarly, the North-West and North-Central have witnessed several incidences of banditry, cattle rustling and community clashes between farmers and herders while the South-South and South-East regions have continued to experience various agitations. In addition to these are criminal activities such as cybercrime, drug trafficking, organised crime, human trafficking, piracy and kidnapping, amongst others. 

“While struggling valiantly to address these challenges, the security forces are not suitably equipped to prevail in the herculean task of protecting our lives, property and territorial integrity,” he added.

Kalu, however, said that a bill was already before the House, which is intended to fix the funding gap for the Nigerian armed forces in order to provide a lasting solution to the problems facing the security forces.

“We also promised Nigerians that between June 2020 and May 2021, we would enact legislation to support structured funding of the Armed Forces to improve military readiness and enhance our capacity to respond to present and emerging threats to national security. 

“The essence of the bill is to provide Special Financial Support for the revamping of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and to also provide for regular training of Armed Forces Personnel as well as the provision of modern security and defence equipment and other related matters,” Kalu explained.

The House Spokesman urged Nigerians to “actively participate in the public hearing of the Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund (Establishment) Bill which will come up as soon as the House resumes from the long vacation”.