Insecurity: Don’t politicise Armed Forces Trust Fund – HURIWA tells National Assembly

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Tuesday cautioned the National Assembly against politicizing the anticipated Armed Forces Trust Fund.

HURIWA said the multi-billion dollars worth of statutory Armed Forces Trust fund being contemplated by the National Assembly is a constructive idea that will inevitably transform the Nigeria Military into an enviable fighting force if prudently applied.

Speaking on the proposed Armed Forces Trust Fund, HURIWA through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, described the initiative as a creative idea whose time has come.

A statement by the group reads partly: “The National Assembly should not politicize the initiative but expeditiously set up the Trust fund by way of a National law as a legacy to be bequeathed to generations unborn.

“We read the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, saying that the military needs more funding because Nigeria is at war.

“Gbajabiamila, who stated this at a public hearing on a bill seeking to establish a special trust fund for the Armed Forces, said insecurity in the country has made extra funding for the military necessary.

“He spoke as the Defence Headquarters said at the hearing that the military will need not less than $2 billion annually for the next three years, making $6 billion, to effectively tackle the growing security crises across the country. We are happy with this proposal and we call for its expeditions passage”.

Besides, the Rights group has described as campaign of character assassination the allegation by some Soldiers that their allowances for the past four years have been either unpaid or underpaid by the Army authority without any explanation especially in the tenure of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Yusuf Tukur Buratai (rtd).

HURIWA specifically recalled that in a media publication, the soldiers stated that their allowances for the past four years have been either unpaid or underpaid by the army authorities without any explanation, urging the president to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to probe what happened to the monies just as the aggrieved soldiers of the Nigerian Army are calling for a probe of how their Uniform and Boots Allowance and Scarce Skills Allowance approved by President Muhammadu Buhari since November 2017 have not been paid by the army authorities, then under the former Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.).

HURIWA, however stated that authoritative information made available to it from the Nigerian Army high command shows that contrary to the claims, that category of allowances was even introduced by the immediate past Army Chief.