President, govs, spend over N241bn on security votes yearly –TI

Transparency International says the President, 36 governors and 774 local government chairmen across the country, spend $670m (N241bn) yearly on security votes which are not subject to audit or legislative oversight.

The Africa Director for TI’s Defence and Security Programme, Christina Hildrew, said this at a two-day event organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre in Abuja on Wednesday.

The event was titled, ‘Impact of Anti-Money Laundering and Illicit Financial Flows: Legislative, Policy and Institutional Gaps to Investigate, Prosecute and Convict for Anti-Money Laundering and Illicit Financial Flow charges.’

Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the event, Hildrew said many officials divert funds under the guise of security votes.

She added, “Security votes are opaque and corruption-prone and the security funding mechanisms widely used across Nigeria’s three tiers of government; a significant percentage of the country’s overall security spending, the secretive unaccounted for add up to an estimated $670m annually.

Hildrew also stated that there was a need for defence budgets and spending to be more transparent. The TI official said while it was important to put national security in its rightful place of importance, there was also a need to ensure that those controlling the funds were being held accountable. Copyright PUNCH.

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