The National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), has set up an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces from 2007 till now. This action was taken in obedience to an order by President Muhammadu Buhari that all arms’ procurement deals since 2007 should be investigated.
The late President Umar Yar’Adua was in charge from 2007 to 2010 while former President Goodluck Jonathan presided over the affairs of the country between 2010 and 2015.
According to a statement on Monday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President directed the NSA to set up the committee with the mandate of identifying irregularities and making recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.
Adesina said based on the presidential directive, the NSA had constituted the committee, which has AVM J.O.N. Ode (retd.) as President. Other members of the committee are R/Adm. J.A. Aikhomu (retd.); R/Adm. E. Ogbor (retd.); Brig.Gen. L. Adekagun (retd.); Brig. Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (retd.); Brig. Gen. N. Rimtip (retd.); Cdre. T.D. Ikoli; Air Cdre. U. Mohammed (retd.); Air Cdre. I. Shafi’i; Col. A.A. Ariyibi; Group Capt. C.A. Oriaku (retd.); and Brig. Gen. Y.I. Shalangwa – Secretary. Mr. I. Magu is representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the committee.
Adesina explained that the establishment of the committee was in keeping with Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in the nation’s public service.
“It (the committee) comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North- East, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects of troops’ morale.
“The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations, which, very often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment,” he added.
It will be recalled that budget defence and procurement of arms under the Jonathan administration generated controversies.
Highest budgetary allocations were given to the Defence Ministry under the administration. For example, in 2014, out of a total budget of N4.962tn, defence got 20 per cent (N968.27bn).
The administration was criticised for not accounting for a $1bn loan the National Assembly approved for it last year for arms procurement to fight Boko Haram
Also, the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa had in September 2014, confiscated the $15m meant for the purchase of arms by the Federal Government in two separate tranches of $9.3m and $5.7m.
The first tranche of $9.3m cash was found stashed in three suit cases by two Nigerians and an Israeli at Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg in September, 2014 while the second amount was seized three weeks after.
The news of the first transaction sparked anger after it emerged that the private jet involved belonged to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor.
Oritsejafor, a close ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, said the plane had been leased to a third party and he could not be blamed for its schedules.
The FG later admitted it was behind the arms deal, claiming it acted out of desperation for arms to defeat the Boko Haram sect.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Bishop, The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, has called on President Buhari to ensure that people found guilty of corruption in the country are jailed to prove to the whole world that Nigeria is serious in the fight against corruption.
Oke, who addressed journalists in Ibadan on Monday, also announced that the church’s annual convention would commence on August 30, 2015, where prayers would be offered for Nigeria as it tackled corruption, economic and security challenges. (Punch)