A coalition of three civil society Organisations have requested the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Col Tukur Buratai to urgently provide them with information on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation reports of the Nigerian Army, including the amounts released (Financial implications) and expended in fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 for the various operations the army carried out. This is contained in a freedom of information requests sent to the Army chief by the trio of Bamisope Adeyanju of SERAP, Seun Akinyemi of EiE and Atiku Samuel of BudgIT.
The group also made it known that if the requested information is not provided in fourteen days, the organizations shall take appropriate action under the freedom of information act to compel Buratai to comply with their request. This request by the CSOs is timely and important considering the recent mishaps that befell the military especially at the North East war theatre where our soldiers were killed in their numbers by rampaging Boko-Haram terrorists. The constant complain of these soldiers as relating to their welfare, equipments and other needs has raised questions as to what the military hierarchy have spent their budget on.
In a recent report by The Cable newspapers before the unfortunate Metele attack that claimed the lives of over 100 soldiers, the soldiers informed Femi Owolabi an undercover journalist with The Cable of their poor state of living as they practically had to beg for food, drugs and accommodation. As expected, the Nigerian Military and the federal government described the report as baseless and unfounded. The video footage of Metele attacks that happened weeks after as released by Boko-Haram and the corroboration of such to Premium Times by a soldier that escaped the Metele attacks gave credence to the fact that something is definitely wrong with the utilization of funds released to the Military by the government.
It is easy for me to predict going by previous experience that the military wont honour this FOI request by the CSOs but I believe the courts will do the needful in the interests of our military officers. Without proper accountability, security is not guaranteed.