By G9ija

Transparency International, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and other stakeholders have lamented the alleged corruption in Nigeria’s defence sector.

During an event yesterday in Abuja, they feared that the development could undermine national security, encourage division and culture of mismanagement in the entire ecosystem.

Noting that though defence budget was over N1 trillion in 2019 alone, the stakeholders regretted that welfare of some military officials was still an issue, as graft allegedly bred ghost workers in the sector.

They also claimed that the military’s involvement in mining and oil activities in Zamfara State and the Niger Delta was stoking tension in the regions.

Project Manager, Salaudeen Hashim, alleged that “defence budget is not transparent, as there is no accountability for improper expenditure.”

He also deplored information access, management and transmission, as well as oversight functions in the industry.x

Hashim equally took procurement to the front burner, stating that it was opportunistic.

“Scrutiny and debate of defence policy remained elusive,” he further claimed.

His allegations: “Ghost workers are being recorded in the military. A lot of personnel are not paid despite the huge funding in the security sector.

“Prices of contracts are being inflated, as beneficiaries are financially linked to personnel.”
The stakeholders noted that “thriving corruption in the sector promotes misappropriation of funds and jeopardises the security of the nation.”

The programme manager added: “If you recall, Nigeria in the midst of its fight against corruption scored 26 over 100 in the 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, ranking her 146 out of 180 countries sampled.

“In 2019, defence and security budget stood at N1, 031.31 trillion. This does not include the secretive security budgets called ‘security votes’.

“Yet just recently, news of soldiers sending SOS to President Muhammadu Buhari flooded the media space. They were poorly treated coupled with their allowances and other entitlements being withheld.”