The Centre for Democracy and Development has revealed that military leaders “stole” as much as $15billion (N6.1trn at N411 to a dollar) through fraudulent arms procurement deals in the last 20 years.
The report affirmed that successive presidents’ failure to rein in security sector corruption was a highly consequential anti-corruption failure, which has led to widespread insecurity, verging on instability and has weakened Nigerian counter-terrorism capacity, allowing groups like Boko Haram to thrive.
The report also noted that political and security elite have monetised the conflicts and the resulting humanitarian crises.
According to the report, despite promises by the current administration to expose those behind sponsorship of criminals, no individual, body or corporation had been convicted in Nigeria for funding terrorism since the insurgency started in 2009.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, had in April 2021 told the House of Representatives committee investigating the $1billion Excess Crude Account fund meant for the purchase of arms to ask “the specific individuals” how the money was spent as he assumed office only two months ago.
Appearing before the Olaide Akinremi-led House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the matter in Abuja, the COAS said it behoved the lawmakers to ask the individuals involved in the deals to account for the funds budgeted for procurement of weapons over the years.
He said, “You may wish to recall that I took over the mantle of leadership barely two months ago. The period from which you wanted this report, having been summarised in the executive summary, explains whatever details you will require; issues of procurement that you so demand to know were done by specific individuals.
“I will rather you call these individuals to come and explain to you very specific issues. The general issue has been contained in the report and the summary. It goes to speak about the entire report and it explains it.”
Attahiru’s predecessors included Generals Luka Yusuf, Abdulrahman Dambazau, Kenneth Minimah, Azubuike Ihejirika, and Tukur Buratai, all of whom submitted relevant documents to the lawmakers.
He also declined to shed light on the documents he tendered when asked by two members of the panel, Bede Eke and Samson Okwu, in line with legislative practice.
SaharaReporters had disclosed that the $1billion set aside by President Muhammadu Buhari from the ECA to buy military ammunition was actually released to the military, and shared among the air force, army and navy under the immediate past service chiefs.
SaharaReporters learnt that the $1billion release, which was greeted by widespread criticisms when President Buhari announced so in April 2018, was approved by the National Assembly and shared to the military arms in 2019 without public knowledge to avoid more criticisms.
The administration of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Buratai (retd.), his contemporary in the air force, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.), and navy, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas (retd.), received the funds but they deliberately chose not to make public knowledge of it.
In December 2018, Buratai while addressing newsmen in Maiduguri, Borno State, had hinted that the money had been released but had not yet got to the army’s coffers.