$1bn not for Boko Haram war alone-Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has clarified that the $1billion approved by the Nigerian Governors Forum was not for the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency alone.

The vice president stated that the fund was approved for the entire nation’s security architecture including “policing in the states, community policing, all of the different security challenges that we have.”

Osinbajo’s clarification came amidst the controversy trailing the announcement of the approval of the fund, from the Excess Crude Account, at Thursday’s meeting of the National Economic Council.

He was speaking at the Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja at the opening of a retreat organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for Secretaries to State Governments.

His clarification contradicts the disclosure by Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, who briefed State House reporters after the NEC meeting, that “Pleased with the achievements that have been made till date in the fight against insurgency, particularly in the northeast, the governors of Nigeria, through their chairman, announced at the NEC meeting that the governors have given permission to the Federal Government to spend the sum of $1bn on the fight of insurgency.

“This money is supposed to be taken from the Excess Crude Account. As you know, the issue of security, particularly with regard to the North East, is a very comprehensive response by federal forces. So, we expect that the contribution of the states to these efforts will cover the whole array of activities required to secure the country and counter insurgency. We expect that the amount will include but not limited to purchase of equipment , procuring intelligence and logistics and all what is required to ensure that we finally put an end to the scourge of insurgency.”

Osinbajo further explained that the governors forum decided to approve some funds for national security after a national security summit of the National Economic Council held earlier in the year which, he noted, was crucial in understanding the national security challenges.

“It was on account of the security summit that the governors, at the Governors’ Forum, subsequently decided that they would vote a certain sum of money, which has become somewhat controversial, the $1billion, to assist the security architecture of the country.

“It was to assist all of the issues in the states, including policing in the states, community policing, all of the different security challenges that we have.

“It was after the security summit that the Governors’ Forum met across party lines. Again, I must add, in order to approve and to accept that this is what is needed to be done to shore up our security architecture,” Osinbajo stated.

The vice president urged the states to collaborate with the Federal Government.

Osinbajo expressed the optimism that the Ecological Fund and the National Emergency Management Agency would be better managed with a stronger cooperation between the Office of the SGF and the SSGs.

The SGF, Boss Mustapha, explained that the retreat was to create a full, effective and efficient function of the states’ structure, saying, “It is therefore imperative that we strive to achieve synergy at this level of governance between the federal, state and local government structures.”