A recent report by Transparency International entitled Camouflaged Cash, How Security Votes Fuel Corruption in Nigeria, which was unveiled in Abuja by the Civil Society Advocacy Centre revealed that the Federal and state governments spend N241 billion on security votes annually.
According to the report, the funds, known as security votes are a relic of military rule, mainly disbursed in hard cash and nominally released for dealing with unexpected security issues. Although disbursed by the federal and state governments, most of it is disbursed by the latter.
CISLAC said that the security votes were more than the combined annual budget of the armed forces, while TI’s Director of Defence and Security, Katherine Dixon, said the security vote is one of the most durable forms of corruption operating in Nigeria today.
TI also noted that instead of addressing its many urgent threats, the ever-increasing use of security votes is providing corrupt officials with an easy-to-use and entirely hidden slush fund.
The group observed that the spending “is not subject to legislative oversight or independent audit because of its ostensibly sensitive nature” stressing that “the funds were channelled into political activities such as election campaigns or embezzled outright.”
TI also observed that “today, security votes are budgetary black boxes that are ripe for abuse by politicians seeking reelection or officials looking for to run for political office.”