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Counting the cost of Boko Haram crisis

In the fight against the Boko Haram sect, much has been heard about the casualty figures in men and material without commensurate information on expenditure on the war effort and its consequences. The piecex-rays the spendingson insecurity with findings that the Federal Government may have spent well over N1 trillion since 2009. News Editor, Abubakar Ibrahim and correspondents Joy Baba (Abuja), Mustapha Isa Kwaru (Maiduguri) and Umar Dankano (Yola) report.

President Goodluck Jonathan, on May 14, declared a state of emergency in three  states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno in a nationwide broadcast invoking Section 305, Sub section 1 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.

However, in this case, the governors of the three states remain in office.

In his address, the president looked at “the recent spate of terrorist activities and protracted security challenges in some parts of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and most recently Bayelsa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states”.   

For this, President Jonathan had to cut short his visit to South Africa and aborted a planned state visit to Namibia, after receiving detailed briefings from security agencies. “These briefings indicate that what we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity. Already, some northern parts of Borno state have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies”, he said.

 Jonathan added: “they have attacked government buildings and facilities. They have murdered innocent citizens and state officials. They have set houses ablaze, and taken women and children as hostages. These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten her territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this”.

 

 This was the last straw after almost five years of protracted insurgency by the Jamaatu Ahlis Sunnah Liddaawati Wal Jihad since 2009. At the last count, almost 1,500 people have been killed by the Boko Haram sect, according to the statistical report called ‘START’ conducted by the University of Maryland for the American government on global terrorism in 2012 , in addition to the colossal loss of revenue and disinvestment to the three affected states and the North at large. The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika put the figure much higher at not less than 3,000 people since 2009.

However, there has not been clear-cut official revelation of expenditure by the Federal Government and the affected States. When contacted for official figures of expenditure on the insurgency, the Director of Defence Information, (DDI) Brig. Gen Chris Olukolade said the total amount spent since the emergency rule and the casualty figure can not be released to the public at the moment.

He said that, all the necessary information would be given to the appropriate authority at the right time for passage to the media and the public.

However, the latest report released in May this year, by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), based in Sweden, shows that in 2012, Nigeria ranked as the 6th highest spender on the military in Africa, with a staggering $2.327 billion (N372.3 billion) in 2012 alone. SIPRI ranked Nigeria among countries at war in Africa.

The report  showed that the country’s military spending is the sixth highest in Africa, and competed with the expenditures of countries like Libya ($2.9 billion), Morocco ($3.4 billion), Angola ($4.1 billion), South Africa ($4.4 billion) and Algeria ($9.3 billion). Countries with relatively lower expenditure among the top 10 spenders on military in Africa include Cote d’Ivoire ($407 million), Namibia ($407 million), Tunisia ($709 million), Kenya ($798 million) and South Sudan ($964 million).

According to the SIPRI report, Nigeria’s military spending, which may not include wages and salaries, but mainly military hardware purchases, has been on the increase since 2006, but it escalated from 2008, to coincide with the period when the military became involved in the fight against insurgency across the country.

For example, while government spent $1.067 billion in 2006, when there was relative peace, though the Niger Delta militancy had begun to take its toll on the country, by 2009 when the Boko Haram crisis erupted in the North-East, the expenditure rose to $1.825 billion( N233 billion). In 2010, a huge sum of $2.143 billion(N264 billion) was spent in procuring military hardware, and the figure rose to a staggering $2.386 billion(N348 billion) in 2011. Last year, when the military began massive procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgency that had begun to spread from the North-East to North-West and some parts of the North-Central, the Federal Government spent some $2.327 billion.

In 2012, the total budget for security was N921.91 billion, close to a record N 1 trillion, which attracted much criticisms from various segments of the society, especially 

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