The National Security Adviser, NSA, Maj Gen Babagana Monguno, retd, yesterday pleaded with lawmakers in the House of Representatives to allocate more funds to fight insecurity in the country, saying Nigerians were suffering and needed help.
He also told the lawmakers that the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari is to hand over a safer country to whosoever Nigerians would elect in the 2023 general elections to succeed him.
The NSA, who made the appeal when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence for the 2023 budget defense in Abuja, noted that achieving the immediate goal of defeating insecurity would, therefore, require the collective support of the parliament.
”We are appealing to you in good conscience, all of you represent different parts of this country and I know you have the interest of Nigeria at heart. Our people are suffering, they are weeping, they are wailing, they are moaning., they are gnashing their teeth.
”We must help them. We have our limitations as intelligence agencies. The rest can only be done through the legislative drive.”
While noting that insecurity was not peculiar to Nigeria but a global menace, the NSA said: “I must also say that the type of insecurity that confronts us is not peculiar just to Nigeria but it is a global thing.
”In today’s context, we can only overcome this problem when we recognize the importance of intelligence as being the driver, the propellant of all activities in the whole of society’s approach. It is important that all the problems I present are taken into consideration by these very important committees.
”We hinge all our hopes and aspirations on whatever action you would take in solving the myriad of problems that confront us. And I want to assure you that the problems are quite enormous.
“The successes we have been recording so far in overcoming the security challenges, especially in the last four to five months, are basically rooted in the efforts of the Department of State Services, DSS, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, having been able to provide timely intelligence to the operational element.
”I want to commend their efforts and I also want to, by extension, commend the efforts of their counterparts in the operational sphere.
“Please, I want to put aside whatever other competing considerations there are. President Muhammadu Buhari has the desire to hand over to whoever is going to inherit what he is working on right now, a safer Nigeria.
”It is true and I have to be very honest with you that dealing with asymmetric warfare, and overcoming asymmetric problems are completely different from what we experienced in the last century.
“Everything revolves around intelligence. And the intelligence we are dealing with is a broad spectrum that goes all the way down to the local level. We deal with human beings. And if we are not supported in the right way, no matter how emotionally, or psychologically we are prepared, we cannot overcome this problem without legislative support.
”I am also happy to inform you that in the recently conducted ministerial retreat, which was organized by the office of the SGF on behalf of the president, the Senate President and the speaker of the House who were there, I highlighted briefly some of the problems confronting us, and they have all agreed to help us.”
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada, charged the NSA and all security agencies to ensure the country is secure during and after the 2023 elections.
He also said that the total budget of the intelligence community was slightly reduced from N212.76 billion in 2022 to N195.02 billion in 2023.
“Despite the fact that this committee had appealed to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to consider the removal of the agencies under the intelligence community from the envelope budgeting system to strengthen their operational capacity which could only be guaranteed through adequate funding, this committee would require the agencies to make a presentation of the 2023 estimates for further legislative action.
“This methodology will also require an analytical presentation of the status of implementation of the previous budget to justify the sustenance of the coming allocation which, in reality, does not call for any significant modification.
”In this regard, it is deserving of appreciating the Federal Government, through its numerous security and intelligence agencies, in response to serious national security challenges such as kidnappings, banditry, terrorism, secession, and border crimes.
”We are calling on you to put more effort into ensuring a secured Nigeria, especially before, during, and after the forthcoming elections.
“The role of the government in ensuring the corporate unity of Nigeria and sustainable internal security, especially in recent times, cannot be over-emphasized. And in the same vein, I have considered it most expedient to appreciate, in a large magnitude, the cooperation enjoyed by the committee from the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, retd., who is also the coordinator of the Intelligence community; the DG NIA, Ahmed Rufai; DG DSS, Magaji Bichi; AVM Abdullahi, Commandant, Presidential Air Fleet; Mr. Adeleke, Commandant, Institute for Security Studies, and other heads of security agencies in the last three and half years.
“It is hoped that the relationship would be deepened to achieve the objectives of national security reforms as the 9th House of Representatives is approaching the end of its tenure,” he said.