By Udora Orizu
The Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, has said the passage of the Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund Bill would go a long way to strengthen the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.
Kalu, in an interview with journalists in Abuja over the weekend, said the bill would fix the funding gap for the Nigerian armed forces in order to provide a lasting solution to the problems facing the security forces.
The bill, which has been passed for second reading at the House, was sponsored by the Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Hon. Babajimi Benson.
According to him, “We 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.
“It will interest you to know that presently, we already have The Nigerian Armed Forces Support Fund (Establishment) Bill 2020, sponsored by Hon Babajimi Benson, which has passed second reading and is scheduled for public hearing upon resumption.
“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.”
He urged Nigerians to actively participate in the public hearing of the bill, which will come up as soon as the House resumes from the recess in September.
Speaking on the insurgency in the North-east region as well as the herders and farmers’ clashes in the middle belt and the southern part of Nigeria, Kalu said: “For over a decade, Nigeria has contended with a recalcitrant insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country that has continued to transform, adapting itself to changing circumstances, yet remaining a significant threat to lives and property, as well as a drain on limited national resources.
“Similarly, the Northwest and North-Central regions 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, among 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.”