Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno says the presidency is investigating funds meant for the purchase of arms which are yet to be procured.
Monguno in an interview with British Broadcaster BBC, said the president had released huge funds to the previous service chiefs for the procurement of weapons which are yet to be procured and nowhere to be found.
The country’s President Muhammadu Buhari in January replaced Gabriel Olonisakin (chief of defence staff) Tukur Buratai (army staff) Ibok Ekwe Ibas (naval staff), Sadique Abubakar (air staff), while Lucky Irabor took over as chief of defence staff; Ibrahim Attahiru, chief of army staff; Awwal Gambo, chief of naval staff; and Isiaka Amao, chief of air staff.
Monguno in the interview said the new service chiefs did not meet the money approved for arms purchase when they assumed office.
“The president has given out some money for equipment but they are yet to arrive,” he said.
“The president has done his best by ensuring that he released exorbitant funds for the procurement of weapons which are yet to be procured, they are not there. Now the president has employed new hands that might come with new ideas. I am not saying that those that have retired have stolen the funds, no. But the funds might have been used in other ways unknown to anybody at present.
“Mr President is going to investigate those funds. As we are talking with you at present, the state governors, the Governors Forum have started raising questions in that direction. $1 billion has been released, that and that has been released, and nothing seem to be changing. So I assure you that the president will not take this lightly.
“The funds are nowhere to be found and the weapons have not been seen and the newly appointed service chiefs have declared that they have not seen the weapons. Maybe they are on the high seas, on their way coming from wherever they were purchased, from the US or Europe, but for now there is nothing on ground. I have not seen anything the service chiefs have also not seen anything.”
Buhari in 2018 had approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgents.
Despite the President’s approval there have been several complaints about lack of equipment and ammunition for the country’s military that has been engaged in more than a decade long fight against insurgency.
By Abel Ejikeme