Transparency International on Wednesday revealed how over N241billion is being siphoned from the nation’s treasury annually, using the security votes as a conduit pipe to divert public funds.
The antigraft organisation also indicted top security chiefs and state governors, who it noted deployed security votes to create insecurity in different parts of the country.
Mr Adeolu Kilanko, of the Transparency International (Defence and Security Unit) disclosed this on Wednesday via a report titled: “Camouflaged Cash – How Security Votes Fuel Corruption in Nigeria” presented at the Zonal official launch of the report in Nigeria organized by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Ibadan.
He stated that among average Nigerians, the words ‘security votes’ are synonymous with official corruption and abuse of power.
Asking for a legislation to abolish security vote, he stated that Transparency International estimated that these secretive and unaccounted-for-cash expenditures add up to over N241.2billion annually.
He said “in just one year, these extra budgetary expenditures add up to over nine times the amount of US security assistance to Nigeria since 2012 ($68.6m) and over twelve times the $53.5m (40million pounds) in counterterrorism support the UK promised Nigeria from 2016 to 2020 .
“Looking at it from another angle, security vote spending exceeds 70 percent of the annual budget of the Nigeria Police Force, more than the Nigerian Army’s annual budget, and more than the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force’s annual budgets combined”.
Though, top security chiefs and governors were indicted in the slush cash, TI commended some state governors for transiting from security vote to Security Trust Fund (STF), especially Lagos state for shifting toward using a public- private security trust fund to provide supplementary funding to security services in the state.
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