Executive DirectorCivil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani during a One Day Media Workshop On Defence Anti-Corruption Reportage Civic Space  and Oversight in Lagos has said citizens must begin to question the actions and in-actions of government and also demand accountability for budgetary allocations meant for defence and security.CISLAC

“It is time that the quest for reform in our defence and security institutions transcend from mere words to an all inclusive participation in the formulation and effective implementation of policies for the actualisation of the transformation that citizens desire in our defence and security sector.” CISLAC Rafsanjani said.

CISLAC Boss, while welcoming participants to the workshop that was organised by CISLAC in collaboration with Transparency International- Defence and Security Program, and supported by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the media workshop is designed to enhance participants knowledge on probable areas within the defence and security sector budgetary process and expenditures, for effective investigative journalism, adding that It will improve the capacity of participants to better understand areas of possible corruption risk and to flag same for evidence based civilian oversight in other to minimize corrupt practices and to improve our defence and security architecture.

 “As patriotic journalists of this great nation, we (CISLAC) urge you to do everything within the law and ethics of your profession to make sure that protection of lives and properties remain a priority for the government, as provided for in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. We must not sit and watch a corrupt few embezzle monies meant for the welfare of security personnel, procurement of arms and ammunition while the challenges of insecurity continue to threaten our very existence.CISLAC Many people known and unknown to us have been killed, manned, kidnappedrobbed of their loved ones, properties and sources of livelihood. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings for outrageous ransom has become a norm in NigeriaThe question is: who will be the next victim? We must not fail to acknowledge the disciplinary actions taken by the leadership of the defence and security sector against erring officers who would rather undermine than uphold the ethics and values of these institutions, as has been aired more frequently by the media lately. Nevertheless, there is still so much more to be done structurally such as wrong and prolonged deployment of personnel in battle field, lack of transparency and accountability in fund management, procurement and project implementation, personnel recruitment processpersonnel welfare, sub standard kits and equipment, among others.” Rafsanjani pointed out.

The CISLAC boss stated further that the Center and its partners will continue to push for greater accountability and integrity in the defence and security sector especially because it will require a multi-stakeholder engagement in line with the principles of  democratic and participatory governance, to achieve the desired level reform. “We will not relent in advocating for an accountable defence and security expenditure, classification and declassification of information for public consumption, increased integrity for personnel and an uninterrupted civilian oversight of the sector in line with international best practices. We look forward to a very robust session that will birth commitments and call for immediate action.” CISLAC Executive Director concluded.

CISLAC’s Peace and Security consultant, Mr. Salaudeen Hashim during his presentation titled Analysis of Government Defence Integrity Index: Establishing the Accountability Nexus, noted that CISLAC has been strengthening the capacity of lawmakers who are constitutionally recognised to oversee budget implementations across the ministries, departments and agencies of government across the country.  He explained that it is important to ensure that the budget and releases are judiciously utilised for the purposes they are meant for despite consistent calls for improved budgetary provisions for defence.
According to him, CISLAC saw the need to bring state and non- state actors together to discuss the challenges and look at what  can be done differently as Nigerians need to enjoy dividends of democracy, stating that the major priority of the state government is to offer adequate protection, adding that the moment the citizens don’t enjoy safety, they begin to distrust their government leaders.
“We (CISLAC) want to help the government build that confidence and at the same time train the non-state actors so they can build their charter of need and allow the state to put a mechanism for protection. Most importantly to ensure that every money that goes into security relations should be spent judiciously and with every form of accountability”, he said.

He stated further that the legislature has not developed adequate skills to meet the expectation and help them to provide external oversight even though they appropriate the funds, go for some oversight and do some debates and make laws for these agencies. “So in all of these, the parliament must have the capacity to understand how security functions and part of this project is to also build them to help them know the questions they need to ask and to look out for, when they go for oversight visits”. Hashim stated.

L- R Mr. Salaudeen Hashim, Bertha Igbimi, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani during a One Day Media Workshop in Lagos on Tuesday
CISLAC Programs Manager, BUDGIT,  Agunloye Tolutope given an overview of the defence and security budgets, using previous and current defence budgets to align the focus of media participants on soft areas for investigative journalism within the defence and security budgetary processes and expenditures, and  also using the Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI) to build the capacity of media participants, to understand areas of possible corruption risk within the defence and security sector, to improve access to information and evidences for effective civilian oversight of the defence and security sector, defined a budget as an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time.
Tolutope who said budgets can be made for a person, a group of people, a business, a government, or just about anything else that makes and spends money, explained that a public budget is an annual plan of the government which outlines planned public revenue and expenditure, and usually is passed by the highest governmental bodies, such as: parliament, municipal councils and regional/provincial councils, known as legislature. He also explained that a military budget or defense budget is the amount of financial resources dedicated or appropriated by a state/country to raising and maintaining an armed forces or other methods essential for defense purposes.CISLAC
Thr CISLAC BUDGIT program manager  stated further that Nigeria runs an envelope system of budgeting which requires MDAs to work within a budget ceiling. “There is no formula for the determination of ceilings to the MDAs as this system of budgeting limits resource allocation and effective utilisation. Capturing of recurrent expenditures as capital projects.” The BUDGIT guru pointed out.
Using the 2017 Ministry of Defence Budget as a case study, he noted that the ministry has a budget of line item for PHCN outstanding debts with (project code FMODM67375298)with project amount of N2.4bn which is a bogus amount for Capital projects. He also pointed out the duplication of budgets which is when projects line items are duplicated in the same MDA, sighting the HIV/AIDS Prevention project which appeared twice in the defence HQ budget in 2017 budget with total sum of N60.05m as example. He concluded by encouraging the use of FOI act to get access to information from the defence sector.


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