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6 April 2018
On Wednesday April 4, 2018, the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, told the world that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved $1 billion for the purchase of more military equipment. Is it not curious that the federal government that claimed to have "technically" defeated Boko Haram and insurgency could approve the spending of a whopping sum of $1 billion for military equipment and arms aside from budgetary allocation for defence?
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) strongly holds the position that government should prioritize investing more resources on the welfare of the people and for massive job creation to guarantee social security. No amount of arms and military equipment can end insecurity in an atmosphere of massive joblessness and lack of basic infrastructure. We do not see the wisdom in spending $1 billion (N305 billion) on military equipment and arms, an amount that is more than the combined 2017 capital budget for education (N50 billion), water resources (N85 billion), UBEC (N92 billion), and health (N51 billion) and in a country wherein 70% of its populace are living below poverty line.
This $1billion (N305 billion) could end up as another Dansukigate considering the fact that defense expenditure lack transparency and accountability because it is undemocratically treated as a 'classified item' which gives even more room for looting. We therefore strongly suspect that Buhari government wants to deploy this security fund as the war chest of APC for 2019 general elections as former President Jonathan and PDP did in 2015.
The SPN is not blind to the increasing violence in the country. We call for non-sectarian well trained, armed and democratically controlled community defence to fight against insurgency and other violent crimes. This policy, alongside social investments to create jobs and improve living standards for all, will be more effective in the fight against violent crimes and cheaper than huge security budgets, a significant proportion of which are looted
The SPN demands openness, transparency and democratic management of all public funds including security/military votes and expenditures.