Nigeria has recorded more deaths from insurgency and violent crimes in the last four years than before, despite spending an unprecedented N1.488 trillion on armaments between 2011 and 2014, a PREMIUM TIMES analysis has shown.
While N369 billion was spent in 2011, N365 billion, N381 billion and N374 billion were spent in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively for the purchase of the security equipment — mostly arms and ammunition — across the major law enforcement departments of the country.
Offices reviewed are the Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministries of Defence, Interior, and the Police. Together, they received a total budgetary allocation of N3.69 trillion within the period.
The N1.488 trillion spent on arms formed about 40 per cent of the entire N3.69 trillion security budget.
The security budget was about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s entire budget within the period.
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Curiously, the number of deaths caused by insurgency and violence in the country increased as the spending rose.
According to the death toll tracker by Nigeria Security Tracker, deaths caused by crime and violence in Nigeria rose from 29 in May 2011 to 41,619 in September 2015.
The Nigerian military and allied agencies do not fully disclose details of how these monies are spent. They simply tag them as matters of national security.
The heads of the country’s security agencies have also repeatedly said allocations to their units were insufficient to equip the armed forces.
Experts however say the huge allocations should translate to improved level of security in the country.
But that is not the case.
An analysis of global annual military spending by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, as well as annual violence-related deaths collated from Council for Foreign Relations’ Nigeria security tracker show that for Nigeria, the funds dedicated to arms have not exactly translated to improved security or fewer number of deaths.
What that amount can do for Nigerians
The huge military investment could improve other sectors significantly. For jobs creation, it could help:
- 148,820 beneficiaries of YOUWIN loan scheme at N10 million each
- 59,528 doctors’ annual salary of N2,500,000 for 10 years
- 219,595 teachers’ annual salary of N677,704 for 10 years
- Close to 1.5 million beneficiaries of SMEs loan at N1 million each
Should the same amount be committed to infrastructure and or social amenities, here is what it can do.
- Over 67 gas-turbine able to produce up to 32,800 megawatts at the cost of N22billion per piece;
- Extra 74,400 primary schools built for N20 million each;
- Up to 148,800 primary health centres at a total cost of N10million;
- Additional 212,571 cheap housing for citizens at N7million per piece;
- Not less than 16.17 million households with potable water at a cost of N92,000 per household connection;
- Additional 15,780 kilometers roads constructed at the outrageous N94 million per kilometer;
- 248 million bags of fertilizers for farmers across Nigeria to enhance growth of agricultural plants; and
- Mosquito treated nets at N6,900 each for about 215.65 million Nigerian kids thus saving them from the scourge of malaria which kills more than 300,000 Nigerian children under the age of five. (Is it annually)
Ishola Williams, a retired major general in the Nigerian Army, said part of the reasons the military is unable to contain the violence in the country was perhaps not related to inadequate arms and ammunition.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Williams said the failure in containing the insurgency could be “because the community intelligence, comprising the state security service (SSS), Civil Defence and Police, are not friendly with the community where they operate; they don’t get good information from residents to help them uncover activities and hideouts of criminals and even the Boko Haram insurgents”.
He also said the Nigerian military’s reliance on the conventional military style inherited from Britain, the country’s colonial master, in fighting a non-conventional war against the Boko Haram, is responsible for the poor outing the military has recorded.
Mr. Williams said while the Nigerian military are equipped with sophisticated ammunition, many of its personnel do not have full knowledge of how they work.
He said they also lack the knowledge of how Boko Haram operates.
Quoting Sun Tzu, Mr. Williams said, “If you know yourself and your enemy, you will fight thousand battles and win the war, but in the case of Nigeria, perhaps our military only knows itself but does not know the enemy very well and so keeps losing the war”.
He said recruitment into the army is majorly to reduce unemployment and are not based on the need to fill critical positions with special requisite skills.