Some Civil Society Organizations have raised alarm over the enormous amount that goes down the drain in the name of security vote. The non-governmental organizations also charged Nigerians on the need to put an end to what it described as wastage of public funds and subtle way of engaging in corruption.
The Regional Program Manager, Transparency International, Adeolu Kilanko made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, at the North Central Zonal official launch of the Security Vote in Nigeria. The ongoing two-day seminar was organized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) in collaboration with Transparency International.
According to Kilanko, research conducted in twenty-nine states of the federation, has revealed that the fund, awarded to top political and security officials at federal, state and local government levels and disbursed at their discretion, amounts to two hundred and forty-one point two billion naira annually, seventy percent more than the annual budget of the Nigeria Police Force as well as that of the military.
The body also said that the fund which is meant to be spent on unforeseen security needs is severally duplicated in the budget as it also reflects in the financial plan of security agencies’ including Ministries, Departments and Agencies that play no security-related role.
CISLAC Corporate Advisor, Salaudeen Ashim, expressed disappointment that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which claimed to be fighting corruption has increased items of security vote in the national budget from thirty in 2016 to one hundred and ninety in 2018, raising the allocated fund to security vote from nine point three billion naira to eighteen point four billion naira.
While advocating that the security vote policy should be outlawed with direct budgeting of fund to security agencies, participants said the mechanism, if it is to stay, should allow for legislative input. They also called for a proper budgeting process, legislative oversight and auditing, as well as establishment of security trust funds, STF, as a constructive first step towards phasing out the system.