President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, on Friday, stated that no funds released for arms were mismanaged by former military chiefs.
Retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser, had raised the allegation of missing money.
But the presidency boasted that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Buhari probed arms procurement after he assumed office in 2015.
In January 2021, he finally removed ex-Chiefs of Defence, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Army – Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Navy – Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Air – Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
They were replaced by General Leo Irabor – Chief of Defence Staff; Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru – Chief of Army Staff; Read Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo – Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshal Isiaka Amao – Chief of Air Staff.
In an interview with BBC Hausa service programme, Monguno while speaking on banditry and insurgency, said the new Service Chiefs confirmed they could not find anything with regards to the arms purchased.
The NSA stated that Buhari approved enough resources for tackling insecurity but some of the setbacks could be blamed on the former military heads.
“The President has done his utmost best by releasing huge funds for procurement of arms but they were not purchased. We couldn’t see anything on the ground. Now the President has brought in new hands who may have a different approach.
“I am not saying the former Service Chiefs embezzled the arms money, but it is a fact that money budgeted for that purpose has been misappropriated and no one can account for it,” he said.
When asked if the misappropriation has been probed, Monguno confirmed there will be an investigation.
“The President will surely investigate it. As I am talking to you, even the governors in their (Governors’) Forum have started complaining that billions of dollars have been allocated for security yet nothing on the ground. I can assure you that the President will not take this lightly.
“Investigations will reveal the facts of the matter, but it is certain that the money has been misappropriated. They cannot be accounted for. The new service chiefs have confirmed that they haven’t seen anything on ground to justify the allocated funds. Nothing is on the ground as I am speaking to you now.”
But despite audio of the interview, Monguno, in a u-turn, said he was quoted out of context.
Reacting, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, said funds cannot miss under Buhari.
He said about $1billion, taken from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) with the consent of Governors and used for military procurements, was judiciously spent.
Shehu insisted the NSA’s comments were “misconstrued and mistranslated”.
“NSA made two critical points. One is that we don’t have enough weapons which is a statement of facts; and two procurements made have not been fully delivered.”
“At no point did the NSA say that money has been misappropriated and that no arms is seen. They have not been delivered, that is correct; these are things you don’t get off the shelves,” Shehu noted.
“People are just been political, they want to draw moral equivalent between the PDP and the APC administrations – we are not the same, things like this cannot happen under a Buhari administrations”, he said.