Federal Government Expends N231 Billion on Arms in Four Years

In a bid to enhance national security, the Federal Government has allocated a total of N231.27 billion over the past four years for the acquisition of arms and ammunition by security agencies.

Despite this substantial financial commitment, security agencies assert that the allocated amount falls short of effectively addressing the myriad security challenges facing the country.

During a session with the House of Representatives, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, along with other security chiefs, defended the significant budget allocated for arms procurement. General Musa justified the substantial expenditure by highlighting the fact that Nigeria lacks the capacity to manufacture military hardware domestically. He emphasized that the acquisition of arms involves transactions in foreign currencies, particularly in dollars, making the budget appear substantial when converted to the local currency.

General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”

He further elaborated on the challenges faced, citing examples such as the cost of precision missiles for drones at $5,000 each, underscoring the financial constraints despite the seemingly large budgetary allocations.

An analysis of the yearly budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 revealed allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively. In 2023, an additional N47.02 billion was earmarked for arms and ammunition procurement, supplemented by the recently approved supplementary budget of N184.25 billion, bringing the total to N231.27 billion.

Moreover, recent data indicated that N115 billion was spent on the importation of arms and ammunition in the first quarter of the current year, marking an increase compared to the previous two years.

A security expert, Chidi Omeje, expressed concern about the reliance on foreign sources for weapons and questioned the effectiveness of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), an agency tasked with local arms manufacturing. Omeje advocated for revitalizing DICON to reduce the country’s dependence on external suppliers for arms and ammunition, stressing the urgency for the government to ensure DICON fulfills its mandate.

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