President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military authorities and the other relevant security agencies to carry out a thorough investigation into how monies appropriated in the country’s budgets by the immediate past administration as security vote were spent.
Accordingly, he has ordered that the State House management and other government agencies should stop drawing money from security vote for emergency funding.
Reporters’ findings revealed that the president gave the directive following a report before him that security votes had been the main channel in which funds were diverted for other unofficial purposes other than government projects.
A dependable source at the presidency said the failure to implement previous budgets on human development was because the allocation security took a huge chunk of the budget proposals of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He said while the highest votes had been going to security, an area touted as the most challenging for the immediate past administration, the new service chiefs were shocked by what they met on ground in terms of armed forces funding.
“Some of them not only meet an empty treasury but after several attempts to reconcile documents containing expenditures of the security votes, they were surprised that they didn’t correspond with what the funds were meant to be spent for,” the source who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent.
For instance, the source said, security got N922 billion in the 2012 budget, but the breakdown of how the money was spent did not suggest that half of the security vote was spent on military projects.
“One of the findings of the investigative team probing how weapons were procured under the past administration is that the security vote was not disbursed in a way that would improve the standard of the military. Monies meant for military operation were diverted for emergency funding,” the source said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has ordered that the State House management and other government agencies stop drawing money from security vote for emergency funding.
Senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who gave the hint, said the president warned that he would not condone a situation whereby emergency funding will be required from time to time.
In an interview with newsmen, the presidential spokesman said, “We were here in the media section of the presidency before the coming of this administration. We heard of accounts of so many things around government, including a part of the State House relying on drawings from the security vote.
“From day one, the president informed Femi and I that media work under him must be funded through the regular budget, and that it is illegal to draw from the security vote.”
Noting that it is a wise decision taken by the president, said “by the time the ongoing investigation into the security department is complete, Nigerians will be shocked by the scale of waste and, possibly, misappropriation that has taken place in that single (security) sector.
“So, you can see that there are a lot of wastage that he has been found in this place and he has been cutting it down. Whatever is sent to the State House management, and whatever you need, go and look at the appropriation properly.
“We are not going to have a situation where emergency funding will be required from time to time. Everything must be duly approved and follow due process. He is a very austere president; he lives it, he preaches it and he promotes it.”