Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Security Adviser to convene an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces from 2007 till date.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the investigative committee’s mandate is to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.
Accordingly, the National Security Adviser has constituted the Investigative Committee as follows:
AVM J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) – President, R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.) – Member, R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.) – Member, Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.) – Member, Brig Gen M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.) – Member, Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.) – Member, Cdre T.D. Ikoli – Member, Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.) – Member.
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Others include: Air Cdre I. Shafi’i – Member, Col A.A. Ariyibi – Member, Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.) – Member, Ibrahim Magu (EFCC) – Member, Brig Gen Y.I. Shalangwa – Secretary
The presidential statement stressed that: “The establishment of the investigative committee is in keeping with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service.
“It comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects of troops’ morale.
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“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.”
There has been controversy regarding Nigeria's procurement of arms. Speculation had it that the United States Government blocked efforts by the Nigerian military to procure US-made Chinook helicopters from Israel for the fight against terrorism across Nigeria.
According to defence and intelligence sources, attempts to buy the helicopters and other munitions from, first the US and other Western European countries, have proved to be an impossible task, thus compelling the military to resort to Israel.
Meanwhile, the United States government debunked the reports that the country refused to sell arms to the Nigerian government based on human rights violation in the fight against terrorists group, Boko Haram in the country.
The US authorities made it clear that why the Nigerian military had problems procuring arms from America in order to fight insurgency in the North-East, stating that there was never any time when the US refused to sell arms to Nigeria on account of human rights violations.
James Entwistle, the American Ambassador to Nigeria said: “Before we share equipment with any country, whether it is a government to government grant or a commercial sale that requires government approval, we look at a couple of things. Does it make sense in terms of that country’s needs? The second thing we look at is the human rights situation in that country. And as we look at equipment transfers, we look at the situation in those countries in the past few years. And as you all know, there have been instances (I’m not saying across the board) of human rights abuses by the Nigerian military in the North-East.
“So the kind of question that we have to ask is let’s say we give certain kinds of equipment to Nigerian military that is then used in a way that affects human situation. If I approve that, I’m responsible for that. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
The claims and counter claims rose amid scandals of two private jets in South Africa with $9.3 million and $5.7 million respectively, which was illegally imported to the country allegedly for purchase of arms for the Nigerian army.
Although the Federal Government claimed the deals were legal, the South African side insisted that the manner of money importation breached the country law. Some alleged that the money could be used for arms smuggling and wondered why the government did not follow the procedure if the deal was legitimate.
Reports have it that the multiple military and administrative officials of Nigeria, made it known to their South African counterparts, that the country had to adopt subterranean strategy to procure arms after the American government blocked orders placed by Nigeria for arms and ammunition.