ADEKUNKE ADESUJI, Abuja
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday stated 847 Nigerian soldiers killed by the Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date were buried in Cemetery in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Ndume, who made this known while responding to questions from Journalists, denied the report of mass burial of soldiers killed by terrorists in Borno State.
He said:”The war is won but Boko Haram needs to be defeated. They don’t only attack civilians but the military as well. So far, from the records we saw in the cemetery, I think we lost over 847 soldiers – by their record here and that is in that cemetery alone.
“That is from 2013 till date. And you know they have cemeteries elsewhere where they bury victims. But that allegation that there is mass burial is not true. Nigerians don’t do that. Nigerian Army will never do that.
“In fact, if any of them is missing, they go out to search and get the person before declaring whether or not he is dead and even if he is dead, they make attempts to retrieve the body. We went, we asked questions. That is not true.”
Ndume expressed dissatisfaction with 2020 budget of N100 for the Ministry of Defence.
He said,” We are in a war. When you are in a war situation and you are budgeting 10.3 trillion and you are allocating less than one per cent to defence, that does not show that your are serious about it.
“Defence is allocated N100billion. I was hoping that its 10 per cent. One per cent of 10.33 trillion should be N130 billion.
“Right now, IDPs are moving from unsafe a zone to what they think is a safe zone and that is putting more pressure on the government.
“International communities have requested $848 billion. So far, the international community that are not affected, have so far donated $547 million – over N140 billion – while the Nigerian government is budgeting N38 billion for NEDC.
“More than half of the budget is given to security, it is worth it; because without it, all these things that you are doing – infrastructure, hospitals – will not work. Better kits, bullet proof vests, better riffles cannot be provided for with a paltry sum.”
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