Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lucky Irabor yesterday lamented the huge human and monetary costs of Boko Haram insurgency to the country.
Irabor revealed on the last day of the third Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja. that Nigeria has lost 100,000 lives and spent $9 billion (about N3.24 trillion) since the insurgency began in 2009.
The General, who also put the number of persons displaced by the development at over two million, however, said that insurgency had been restricted to a corner of the Northeast.
The Defence boss also affirmed that the Armed Forces have received N2.5 trillion in seven years and have been able to “tremendously” increase internal security operations.
The N2.5 trillion, according to him, is just 35 percent of the requirements of the Armed Forces and below 0.5 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On operations in the Niger Delta, Irabor said that militancy had transmuted to crude oil theft, a trend that could be overcome through political leadership, military operations, and the citizenry.
During the retreat, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha restated government’s resolved to embark on an aggressive revenue mobilisation to reduce fiscal risks faced by the economy.
Stressing that fuel subsidy would be phased out in 2023, he added that the government had also resolved to end oil theft.
Reeling out the nine Priorities/Presidential Legacy-Synthesis of Key Recommendations from panel sessions and Next Steps, Mustapha, said: “Our collective efforts will inform our contributions to the legacy of the Buhari administration with high-impact projects.”.
The SGF told the participants that Buhari expects to see these ideas and commitments coming to life on the dates promised.
Mustapha said that the Finance, Budget, and National Planning Ministry would drive aggressive revenue mobilization.
His words: “The government will continue its efforts to broaden the sources of foreign exchange and stimulate a greater supply of foreign exchange through the attraction of foreign direct investment.
”Fuel subsidy will eventually be phased out by next year and use every apparatus available to the government to fight oil theft.
The government will also invest in emerging areas of the oil and gas sector to unlock new investment opportunities.
”Priority 2: Achieve Agriculture and Food Security: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed to embarking on an aggressive dry season farming immediately after the wet season to sustain increased food production.
”There is a need to address the logistics costs of moving agricultural products from the farm gates to markets to curb the issue of food inflation.
”The Ministry will also expedite action in rehabilitating the existing refineries and ensuring mechanisms are in place to cushion the effects of total removal oil subsidy.
”The Siemens Grid and Distribution Enhancement Project aims to achieve 25,000Megawatts by 2025. Early work orders and financing structure for the deployment of transmission and distribution equipment have been completed. Efforts are on towards the realisation of 11,000Megawatts of installed transmission capacity by 2023:
”Federal Government is to introduce robust mechanisms to track daily PMS consumption with appropriate technologies.
”Key infrastructure to be commissioned before May 2023 include the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge, and the Kaduna-Kano highway.”