Senate wants FG to adequately fund boundary commission

The Senate

The Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration has called on the Federal Government to adequately fund the National Boundary Commission in view of its importance in conflict resolution.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Abdullahi Gumel, made the call when the commission presented its budget proposal before the committee on Wednesday in Abuja.

Gumel said it was disheartening to note that in spite of the commission’s huge mandate, it lacked adequate funding to operate effectively.

He mentioned that the commission lacked adequate tools as well as insurance for staff who were often exposed to danger in the course of their duties.

He noted that the commission among other things was in charge of settling conflicts in the 22 boundary states in the country and as such should be adequately catered for.

Gumel said the commission by the Act establishing it, had the powers to settle conflicts in local governments, states and other countries having boundaries with Nigeria.

“National Boundary Commission is a very important commission of government but from their submission, they are grossly underfunded.

“We have 22 states that have boundaries with other nations and the Atlantic and we have conflicts in about 96 local governments.

“They have six zonal offices but they do not have operational vehicles. They complained that they do not have the ability to attend to skirmishes before they snowballed into full blown clash leading to killings.

“They have no funds, no vehicles and no life insurance,’’ he said.

The chairman recalled an incidence where staff of the commission lost their lives in the course of duty.

He said: “If you remember the incident of the joint surveyors that were killed in Cameroon, Nigeria border. Those from Cameroon and United Nations were insured but Nigerians were not.

“So, the commission just went and greeted their family members and that was all. So, the Nigerians we are exposing to these dangers should be insured.’’

He gave an assurance that the committee would approach the Committee on Appropriation to ensure that the commission’s budgetary allocation for 2019 was increased to help meet its needs.

“We will approach the Chairman of Appropriation Committee and see what we can do to get operational vehicles for the commission’s zonal offices and insurance for staff.