- from Ruth Choji -
Worried by the rising threats to lives and property in the country, the National Assembly may have concluded plans to push for a supplementary budget to tackle insurgency, particularly in the north.
It was learnt from authoritative sources that the N930 billion earmarked for security in the 2012 budget is now considered grossly inadequate to cope with the national security challenges in the land.
Findings show that agencies charged with the management of the nation’s security were uncomfortable with the “paltry” sum and had already made their feelings known to the federal government in the wake of rampant bombings in parts of the north, which have claimed thousands of lives and property.
A senior government official said: “Obviously, we are really worried about the worsening security situation in Nigeria and we have made the point very clear to the authorities that something must be done urgently to checkmate those who are killing with impunity and getting away with it.
“In the face of other competing challenges in the country, money is a big problem but we have to source for it and confront an enemy that has refused to back down.
But reminded that the amount voted by President Goodluck Jonathan for security in this year’s budget was higher than the budgets of many West African countries, the source said that Nigeria needed even more funds to be able to confront the problems that are peculiar in its domain without looking at what other countries were doing.
“We do not have the same problems across the region and each country has the right to respond to issues as they arise,” the source added.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Security and National Intelligence, Senator Muhammed Magoro, confirmed that the committee had already pointed out that the amount voted for security this year needed to be increased.
The former internal affairs minister and retired army general said that the committees saddled with security in the National Assembly would soon meet to take a second look at the security vote in relation to recent challenges in the country.
Magoro said, “The security committee in conjunction with other committees in the National Assembly will put heads together to see what can be done to the budget with a view to improving security in the country.”
Nigerians are worried that terrorist attacks in the country have assumed a dangerous dimension even with increased budgets and are calling for urgent measures to halt the trend and protect lives and property before the situation gets out of hand.
Only last Sunday, gunmen invaded a worship centre at the Bayero University, Kano, and killed two professors and 18 others in a gruesome manner. While the university was still grieving for the victims, gunmen rammed into the Taraba State Ministry of Finance on Tuesday and killed no fewer than 13 persons. Another set of killers invaded a Potiskum market in Yobe State the next day and murdered 56 persons and disappeared before security agents arrived at the scene.
Meanwhile, the activities of criminally-minded persons in Nigeria’s major cities of Abuja and Lagos may soon be captured real time on close-circuit television cameras, as work on the N470 million project, which the federal government awarded to a Chinese company, ZTE, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Already, a total of 2,000 CCTV cameras have been planted in strategic locations in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos under the first phase of the project and images successfully captured by the facilities.No. of Views:150