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FG earmarks N1.35tn worth of arms and ammunition against Boko Haram, bandits



As the battle against insecurity continues, the Federal Government has earmarked N1.35tn to prosecute the ongoing anti-insurgency fight in the country.

This was contained in the N20.51tn 2023 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

 Out of this N1.35tn, the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have been allocated over N1.248tn to fight Boko Haram, bandits and other anti-insurgency wars in the 2023 Appropriation Bill.

Out of this amount, personnel expenditure will gulp over N1tn; overhead cost, N90.961bn; and capital expenditure, N156.294bn.

Of the 18 military and defence agencies allocated the total sum, the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy will get N638.1b, N174.4bn and N158.7bn, respectively. The three forces got the largest chunk of the record military budget.

Out of the Nigerian Army’s N638.1bn budget, N581bn is for payment of salaries of personnel, N24.6bn was allocated for overhead and N32.3bn for capital.

The Nigerian Air Force on the other hand allocated N108. 3bn for personnel cost, N15.4bn for overhead and N50.6bn for capital projects.

For the Nigerian Navy, N113.7bn will go to personnel cost, N19.7bn to overhead and N25.3bn for capital.

The Defence Headquarters has a budget of N84.7bn, out of which N80.086bn is for personnel, N2.1bn for overhead and N2.4bn for capital.

Ministry of Defence headquarters was allocated N32. 7bn, including N15.052bn for personnel cost, N2.2bn for overhead cost and N15.4bn for capital.

Prominent among the capital projects of the Nigerian Army are arms and ammunition, including the purchase of three units of Magnus MF 212 surveillance attack aircraft at N2.7bn and three units of Bell UH 1D helicopter at N3,082,500,000.

The Nigerian Air Force, which is also acquiring arms and ammunition budgeted N2,099,016,682 for ‘balance payment for procurement of two AW109 Trekker helicopters; another N1,257,660,000 for ‘balance payment for periodic depot maintenance of three L-39ZA aircraft and another N27,302,804,065 for ‘additional payment for procurement of six T-129 attack helicopters.’

NAF also plans to overhaul six Larzac engines of its Alpha Jet aircraft fleet at the cost of N346,273,056.

The Nigerian Navy is to procure Ocea3X32 fast patrol boats, six special forces boats, six RHIBs, three fuel cleaning stations and four years of integrated logistics support for N9,163,226,200.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence headquarters plans to spend N7m on a new project titled ‘Provision of Tablets (10nos) to Press Officers for 24 hours news monitoring, news gathering and information dissemination to media houses, FGN, Etc.’ Quarterly publication of the MOD newsletter will also gulp N20m.

While the ‘Safe School Intervention’ will cost N2.2b in 2023, the ministry plans to spend N9,501,070 on ‘Freedom of Information.’

While addressing the National Assembly during the budget presentation ceremony, Buhari stated that the government remained “firmly committed” to the security of life, property and investment across the country.

The President noted that defence and internal security continue to be accorded “top priority in 2023.” He added that current efforts to properly equip and motivate the nation’s valiant personnel in the Armed Forces, police and paramilitary units will be sustained.

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NiMet forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from Sunday



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has forecasted a period of sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country. According to the weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja, NiMet predicts sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during this forecast period. The North Central region is also expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere.

In the Inland states of the South, NiMet anticipates cloudy skies with spells of sunshine. Coastal cities are expected to have cloudy skies with the possibility of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

Dust haze is foreseen over the northern region on Monday, while the North Central region is expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere. The Inland states of the South and coastal cities are predicted to have cloudy skies with spells of sunshine, along with the likelihood of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. Thunderstorms are expected later in the day over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.

On Tuesday, NiMet forecasts dust haze with a visibility range of 2km to 5 km over the northern region. The North Central region is expected to experience dust haze as well. In the Inland states of the South and coastal cities, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are anticipated.

NiMet issues a cautionary note about dust particles in suspension and advises the public, especially individuals with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions. The agency also warns of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and advises the public to exercise caution. Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany thunderstorms, and disaster risk managers, agencies, and individuals are advised to be proactive during the rainy season.

Finally, NiMet advises airline operators to obtain updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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Kaduna bombing: Senators donate December salaries to victims



Each of the 109 senators in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has contributed their December salaries to assist the victims of the recent bombing incident in Kaduna that occurred last Sunday. The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, made this announcement on Sunday during a visit to the Kaduna State Government House, leading a prominent delegation of Senate members. The delegation was welcomed at the Government House by Governor Uba Sani. Further information will be provided soon.

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ECOWAS meeting holds in Abuja



The 64th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government is currently taking place in Abuja, Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria is set to chair the session, which is being attended by leaders from the 15-member block.

According to reports from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), countries such as Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have already gathered at the venue, the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Other member states present include Benin, Gambia, Togo, Cape Verde, and Senegal.

In addition to the Heads of State and Government, the meeting is being attended by the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, the U.S. Lead diplomat for Africa, Molly Phee, the African Union (AU), and the UN Secretary-General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Simao.

The agenda for the end-of-year meeting includes a comprehensive review of decisions and agreements previously made by the body. This encompasses topics such as the adoption of the ECO as a common currency for the region. The regional body will also deliberate on issues such as the recent coup d’etats in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea.

Furthermore, the meeting will address concerns related to climate change, democracy, bilateral relations, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

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