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The Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) has denied a media report that for some years now, it has usurped the management of military funds from the Ministry of Defence (MOD)
This came as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday called on the National Assembly to investigate the expenditure and budgetary allocations of security agencies in the country, considering the fact that the military has not shown justification for the N130billion expended in the first quarter of 2014.
This is as it urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the state of security to ensure an audit of the sector and make amends where necessary.
The Special Assistant Media, to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), Mr. Karounwi Adekunle, stated this yesterday in a response to a publication alleging that the defence budget that traditionally used to be under the exclusive supervision of MOD had been hijacked by the NSA.
Adekunle said: “Our attention has been drawn to the false and misleading story published in TELL magazine of June 2, 2014 alleging that ‘for some years now defence funds have been under the management of the NSA, instead of the Ministry of Defence where the funds were traditionally administered.
“We state, clearly and unambiguously that the ONSA is separate from MOD in all budgetary affairs.”
He explained that the ONSA defends its budgets before the National Assembly and MOD does for its own.
According to him, all budgetary provisions are clearly spelt out and within the public domain.
Adekunle further clarified that ONSA has no responsibility for military personnel salaries and allowances, capital projects or otherwise, adding that “all these are within the domain of MOD.
“So how can ONSA be accused of managing defence funds?
Adekunle request that “any allegation from any source about ONSA, recourse be made to the NSA for his own side of the story before publishing as in this case where ONSA is blamed outright with no right of its side being heard.
“There is need for a holistic and balanced report at all times,” he advised.
Meanwhile, the NLC in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, said the state of emergency would serve the purpose of fast-tracking the appropriate funding, training, kitting and equipping of security personnel.
“We are disturbed by the continued wave of bomb attacks across the northern parts of the country, mainly on soft targets such as crowded markets and recreational centres as well as growing attacks on schools and villages which have led to the untimely death of several thousands of people, mostly young people who are still in their productive age,”it said.
It expressed worry at the ease with which the Boko Haram sect continues to unleash mayhem in the country with the recent attacks in Abuja, Kano and Jos, despite the funds.
“It is also important that the entire security sector be audited in the hope of detecting those who are short-changing the security agencies and may have been collaborating with the enemies of our people to unleash mayhem on our country,” it said in the statement.
“We wonder why there is evident low morale and dearth of operational equipment in confronting the ongoing terror attacks across the northern parts of the country if the sum of N130billion was spent within three months, on the military,” it added.
The NLC expressed sympathy to security agents who it said are still able to confront the prevailing security challenges in circumstances,
despite the obvious dearth of appropriate modern equipment, while the attackers operate with superior and sophisticated equipment.
It extended condolences to families that have lost loved ones in the attacks including the military and other security personnel.
NLC condemned the recent Jos bomb attack, which occurred at the biggest market in the city, and in Kano at a social center, adding that several thousands of workers, especially teachers, health workers, and other civil servants and informal sector workers have lost their lives and properties in the terror unleash by the sect.
“What we need is not just a declaration of state of emergency in some states where the security challenges have been much fiercer; we need an urgent declaration of state of emergency on security,” the NLC said.