Nigeria’s military spending rose by a whopping 2,138% for the third quarter of 2018, one of the highest seen in recent years.
This was contained in the 2018 third-quarter foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics. According to the Bureau, Nigeria’s total imports for the quarter was N4,172.3 in Q3,2018 representing a 73.8 % increase from Q2,2018 due to the importation of submersible drilling platforms in August.
A close look at the report, however, shows that imports from Arms and ammunition, parts thereof rose a whopping 21x when compared to the previous quarter in 2017. However, this amounted to just N1.212 billion for the quarter and about N1.264 billion for the year. Imports of arms and ammunition were about N786 million, N142 million and N233 million in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
For a country in the thick of a gruesome war with terrorist, this is a paltry military spending and probably nowhere close to what is required to fight the war.
The bottom line
- Nigeria has been fighting a stubborn Boko Haram insurgency for years and recently incurred huge casualties from the hands of Boko Haram fighters.
- Critics of the government war on Boko Haram have blamed lack of arms and ammunition as one of the reasons why Nigeria’s military has suffered several casualties.
- Just recently, the spokesman of the army, Brig. Gen Sanni Usman confirmed that the army was yet to receive the $1 billion promised as military spending.
- His remark “People should understand also that this is a democratic system in which the procurement, and of course, the funding of defense-related issues take such a long time. Take for instance the issue of the $1bn approved recently by Mr. President, up till now the process is ongoing. “The Ministry of Defence is still pursuing the matter to the point that when it is done, the armed forces will definitely get more equipment, more arms, and ammunition.”
- Military spending is critical to Nigeria’s war on insurgency and against militancy and other threats to National security. It also is very important to instilling confidence in the Nigerian economy as relative peace attracts foreign investments and increases GDP.
- It is also likely that the entirety of military spending may not have been completely captured in the Bureau of Statistics report.