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Presidency says military will never get enough funding

The president's media aide said the military has to compete for funding with other problems facing the nation.

Defeating Boko Haram is a must-win war, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told troops at an army conference in Maiduguri

While speaking during an interview on Arise News Television on Friday, November 30, 2018, President Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the military has to compete for funding with other problems facing the nation.

Despite the challenge, he said President Buhari's administration has funded the military's operations more than any other leader in Nigeria's democratic history.

He said, "I make this statement, on my honour, to the best of my knowledge, that there's not been one administration under this constitution that has funded the military as much as President Muhammadu Buhari has done.

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"They will never get enough because the Nigerian military will have to go into the budget process. They'll go before the National Assembly and have to compete for money  with the unemployment, education, health and all of that.

"They cannot have everything, but the beauty of the Commander-in-Chief is to ensure that they have as much as they need in order to confront the situation.

"When there are new challenges, then you have to come together and rise to the challenge ."

Shehu's comment is similar to that of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, who recently said no Army in the world can possibly have enough equipment to conduct its operations.

He said, "I must also add that no Army can ever have enough equipment to conduct its operations; hence, it is incumbent on all commanders and senior leaders of the Nigerian Army to recognise that we're involved in asymmetry warfare which calls for dynamism and flexibility if we're to succeed with minimal casualties."

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Their statements come nearly two weeks after terrorists belonging to Boko Haram faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), overran the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele village in Guzamala local government area of Borno Stateduring an attack on November 18.

Even though many reports indicated that over 100 soldiers were killed in the attack with many others missing, the Army disclosed in a statement on Wednesday, November 28, that 23 soldiers were killed with 31 others injured.

The statement also revealed that terrorists staged a series of attacks on Nigerian troops between November 2 and November 17. The attacks took place in Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram, all in Borno, but were 'successfully repelled' by troops who killed 'several members' of the terrorist group. However, 16 soldiers were killed in the attacks while 12 were injured.

The Army also noted that despite systematically degrading Boko Haram in the past three years, the terrorists are staging a resurgence with daring moves that include the increased use of drones against troops' defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks.

In the wake of the Metele attack, several soldiers complained about the lack of proper equipment to fight the terrorists who have made several attempts to overrun army bases.

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The attack has also fueled speculations about the nation's defence spending as the opposition accused the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, of diverting the funds meant to arm the military to President Buhari's re-election campaign.

Eliminate Boko Haram 'from face of the earth'

President Buhari was in Maiduguri, Borno on Wednesday to declare open the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference as the guest of honour.

While delivering his speech, the president charged the military's leadership to ensure that their plans and programmes meet the nation's security challenges. He also urged the Army to remain committed to defeating Boko Haram.

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"I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by whatever speculations but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the face of the earth," he said.

He said security remains one of the cardinal objectives of his administration and promised that no effort will be spared to support troops, including reviewing their welfare package.

"I want to assure you that, as your commander in chief, I will do everything within my powers to continue empowering you by providing all the necessary equipment for you to prevail on the field.

"I also want you to be aware that I'm currently looking into measures to improve your entitlements and welfare generally," he said.

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