The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, yesterday disclosed that no provision was made for security vote for the presidency in the 2018 budget, as he debunked the report by Amnesty International entitled: “Camouflaged Cash: How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria”.
The report indicated, among other things, that the presidency is not only appropriating, but “has increased the number of security votes tucked into the federal budget in the last two years”. In the report, Amnesty International defined security votes as “budgeted funds provided to certain federal, state, and local government officials to spend at their discretion… They are budgeted separately from planned security expenditures such as personnel salaries, allowances, equipment, training and operational expenses”.
The minister, who spoke while responding to questions during the 2018 budget briefing session in Abuja, explained that it was necessary to state clearly that, “there is no line item as Security Vote in the State House budget,” adding that, “provisions for security-related matters are contained in the detailed budgets of the Ministry of Defence, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Department of State Security (DSS) etc.”
He said further: “There are also provisions for military interventions in the North-east (insurgency) – Operation Lafiya Dole, as well as other specific operations of the Armed Forces such as Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Smile and very recently, the Operation Cat Race, etc.”
Udoma pointed out that owing to the growing number of internal security issues, a provision of N75 billion was made for these exercises in the service-wide votes, not State House vote, in 2018, stressing: “At appropriate times, the required funds are disbursed by application from the relevant agencies supervising the exercises.”