Insecurity Fuels 22% Food Inflation, Surveillance Gulps N476bn
The Federal Government may have spent N475.8bn on surveillance to curtail the high level of insecurity threatening both the economy and lives of Nigerian citizens.
Analysis of the Federal Government budgets between 2017 and 2021 showed that the N475bn was budgeted for the nation’s two surveillance agencies – the National Intelligence Agency and the Directorate of State Security Service – which are under the Presidency.
Although available government budget reports did not provide detailed implementation analysis, the agencies’ budget, most often, get 100 per cent releases.
Despite, the budget implementation, however, insecurity in the country has nosedived over the years, leading to scanty unsecured farming activities that had left food inflation in the country running northwards.
Analysis of the five-year budgets showed that the DSS was allocated N263.9bn (55.5 per cent) of the budgeted amount, while the NIA was allocated the remaining N211.9bn (44.5 per cent).
The two agencies are administered by the office of the National Security Adviser. The NSA is a senior official in the cabinet of the President. He manages national security on behalf of the President and serves as his chief advisor on all security matters. He is a statutory member of the Presidency, National Security Council and the Federal Executive Council.
The current National Security Adviser is Mohammed Babagana Monguno, a retired military general.
Of the surveillance budget, N307.46bn was allocated for salaries and wages for both agencies. The NIA got N158.3,75bn while the DSS got N149.13bn.
Within the time under review, N233.44m was budgeted for Information Technology Consulting, Internet Access Charges, and Satellite Broadcasting Access Charges at NIA.
Both agencies had N2.82bn budgeted for local and international training over the five-year period. The DSS got N2.65bn while the NIA got N95.16m.
According to its website, the role of the Department of State Services includes the prevention and detection of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.
It is also occupied with prevention, detection and investigation of threats of espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism, separatist agitations, inter-group conflicts, economic crimes of national security dimension, and threats to law and order.
However, a report by SBM Intelligence showed that over 2,371 persons had been abducted between January and June 2021.
The reports said an average of 13 persons had been abducted daily within the period across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
It noted that N10bn ($19.96m as of June 30) was demanded as ransom without stating the total amount paid by victims.
The World Bank recently said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
It said, “Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.”
In January 2017, food inflation was 17.82 per cent. In June 2021, food inflation rose to 21.83 per cent.
In a report, the National Vice President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Daniel Okafor, said, “Insecurity is the major problem confronting farmers right now. Insecurity is everywhere in Nigeria currently.”
Food inflation 21.83 per cent in June 2021 according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
This rise was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, milk, cheese and eggs, fish, soft drinks, vegetables, oils and fats, and meat.
On a year-on-year basis, it was highest in Kogi (30.34 per cent), Enugu (25.18 per cent) and Kwara (24.78 per cent), and lowest in Bauchi (18.97per cent), River (18.92per cent) and Abuja (17.09per cent).
Chairman of Foundation for Economic Research and Training, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said the Nigerian economy is suffering because of insecurity.
He said, “Part of the problem we have in the economy is insecurity. Without your economy being secured you will not attract foreign and domestic investors.
“If you are spending on security, if you are putting money on the DSS and other agencies to ensure the country is secured, there is no problem.
“But we need to consider the outcome of those allocations. And we can’t know that until we see data. In other words, have there been improvements in the security situation? That is what we should concern ourselves with. The amount of money is just allocation; when we allocate, we need to see the outcome.
“Has there been an improvement, I don’t think so. Maybe, the money is needed to procure more gadgets to be able to fight against insecurity. Over a five-year period, aside from Boko haram, we now have bandits and herdsmen.
“Most Nigerians will agree that we have not seen any improvement. Rather, we are seeing more kidnapping, and banditry. I don’t think we should stop funding the agencies, but the government must start asking for results.”
A security expert, Jackson Ojo, said that the security agencies cannot be faulted for their perceived incompetence because of their political leanings.
He said, “The agencies have a reportage pattern. They do not have independent budgets, they report directly to the National Security Adviser, and at the end of the day, their budget is released to the office of the NSA.
“The office of the NSA is a political appointment. What I am saying is we cannot blame the DSS and NIA, because they report to some persons.
“If their budget is N2bn, for example, and only N500m is awarded to them; the general public cannot know because no one from the agencies will talk. Yet, the public will expect commensurate results to justify their budgets.
“The political authority over these agencies are the ones not allowing them to function well. Intellectually, they are competent and qualified, but they are reporting to some political offices. And the political offices manage their resources.”
Another security expert, Oladele Fajana, said that most of the budget allocation to the two agencies was used as personnel cost.