President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of equipment worth $1bn for the military.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, stated this in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that Buhari had with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
“What I can add after all that I have said is to inform you that of recent, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1bn,” the minister said.
Although Dan-Ali did not disclose the source of the money, the National Economic Council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had in December 2017 approved the withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account to fight insecurity.
The minister described the meeting with the President as a “normal meeting of security agencies in the country.”
He said issues concerning security situation in some states, including Taraba and Zamfara, were discussed.
On what to expect after the deployment of troops in Zamfara, Dan-Ali said, “We have operationalised a division in Sokoto. There will be a Brigade in Katsina and another Brigade in Zamfara that will take care of security situation in the areas.
“Of course, the strength of security personnel has increased, including the air force additional quick response group; they have added enough manpower in that area.”
He said efforts were being intensified to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl still being held by Boko Haram because she allegedly refused to renounce Christianity.
However, the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council did not hold on Wednesday.
As of the time of filing this report, no official reason was given for the cancellation of the meeting which usually holds every Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari presides over the FEC that has Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; all ministers and some presidential aides as members.
Meanwhile, the #BringBackOurGirls movement on Wednesday deplored the approval of $1bn by the President, noting that the nation had not got any value for the huge amount spent so far on fighting insurgency in the North-East.
The BBOG spokesman, Sesugh Akume, described the fight against insurgency as “a money-making scheme,” wondering why the government needed to spend additional $1bn to fight the insurgents it claimed to have defeated.
He said, “The whole thing is a money-making scheme; our movement did an analysis of the money spent on fighting insurgency since 2011 and it has been within that range and we have not had value for the money we have spent.
“The government claimed to have defeated Boko Haram, so what are we spending $1bn on?”