The Presidency on Wednesday denied reports that the Federal Government had so far spent about $32 billion (N6.5 trillion) on the counter-insurgency operation currently ongoing in the northeastern part of the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, debunked the report at a media briefing in Abuja, describing the claim as “falsehood and outlandish assertion”.
Okupe, however, failed to disclose the actual amount spent by the Goodluck Jonathan administration on the war against insurgency.
The All Progressives Congress had accused the PDP-led federal government of spending about $32 billion in the fight against terrorism in the land without commensurate result.
“We find it very embarrassing that the All Progressive Congress always desperately seeks to feed on blood like leaches and profit from national tragedies and misfortunes.
“This habit of the Nigerian main opposition political party runs contrary to what obtains in other parts of the world where politicians rise above partisanship and quest for power in matters of this nature”, Okupe stated.
The Presidential aide also described as false, a statement by the APC quoting the president as saying that the government underrated the capacity of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The opposition also accused the government of delay in its counter insurgency efforts and waited till election year to uproot the insurgents as a political trump card.
“We find these assertions by the APC as most unfortunate and certainly unpatriotic”, Okupe reacted.
“In the first instance, what President Goodluck Jonathan said in the interview which has been mischievously twisted by the APC, was that at the outset of the Boko Haram activities, the group was treated as a local insurgent group in view of the fact that there was scanty information on its global network in training, funding and supply of arms.
“We wish to state that there was never a time that this administration shirked its responsibilities in the fight against terror in spite of the obvious challenges resulting from decades of failure to procure essential equipment to modernize and enhance the fighting power of our military.
“The various successes recorded by the Nigerian military in their various international engagements were as a result of the fact that our soldiers were essentially equipped for specific engagements and the equipment are tailor made for the foreign operations.
“The APC ought to know that procuring military hardware is totally different from buying real estate or a piece of automobile. In most cases, the equipment have to be pre-ordered, designed and produced to specification, which takes a considerable time”, he explained.
According to Okupe, the recent success achieved by the Nigerian military in the war against terror was made possible by the deployment of specially trained anti-terrorism combat squad, who were recently trained by the country’s international partners.