Ndume says Boko Haram has killed over 840 soldiers in Borno, faults N100bn budgetary budget

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Ali Ndume, chairman, senate committee on army, says the Boko Haram sect has killed 847 Nigerian soldiers from 2013 till date.

He said the deceased officers were buried in the military cemetery located in Maiduguri, Borno capital.

Ndume said the figure did not include soldiers killed by the insurgents but buried in other military cemeteries.

The lawmaker addressed reporters after his committee returned from a trip to Borno.

He said during the visit, the committee members discovered that soldiers were under-equipped to confront the insurgents.

Ndume also said the number of soldiers confronting insurgents were inadequate, calling on the government to recruit more troops.

He said the senate panel was already investigating allegations that some non-governmental organisations were working with Boko Haram.

In September, the army blacklisted Mercy Corps and Action Against Hunger, some international NGOs, and shut their offices in the north-east.

The senator Ndume has also faulted the N100bn budgetary allocation to defence, stating that such an amount was insufficient to tackle insurgency in the country.

He said with the recent visit of the committee members to some parts of Borno, they observed that there was “a recent resurgence of insurgency in the North-east.”

“The summary of it is that we are in a war. When you are in a war situation and you are budgeting N10.33 trillion and you are allocating less than one per cent to defence, that does not show that your are serious about it.

“Defence, not army, is allocated N100 billion. That is less than one per cent. I was hoping that it is 10 per cent. So when I did the calculation, it is less than one per cent. Following that is the issue of humanitarian crisis that follows insurgency.

“Right now, we have an increase and surge in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, where they are moving from unsafe zones to what they think is safe zone and that is putting more pressure on the government,” he said.

According to him, so far, the international community that are not affected, they are just helping us, have so far donated 547 million dollars; that translates into over N140 billion.

“While the Nigerian government that this thing is directly affecting is budgeting N38 billion for the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

“If in the budget of N10 trillion, more than half of it or even if half of it should go to secure the country, it is worth it. This is because if we are not secured, all the infrastructure will not work,” Ndume said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian army has asked Ali Ndume to provide evidence showing over 840 soldiers have been killed by Boko Haram insurgents.

But Sagir Musa, army’s spokesman, dismissed Ndume’s claim. “If he says so, then he should substantiate. What is his source? Let him provide it,” Sagir told TheCable via telephone.

In a report in August, The Wall Street Journal said over 1,000 soldiers were killed on the frontline and were secretly buried in Maiduguri.

Quoting military sources, the newspaper said the number of soldiers buried in that manner could be higher than the figure.

Over the months, the insurgents have attacked military bases and formations in the war theatre, killing soldiers.

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