- Denies being investigated over $2.1bn arms deal, says he’s an orphan
Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, has said that he is being persecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), describing as false the allegation that he is being investigated over the $2.1 billion arms deal.
Badeh, who in a statement yesterday, said that he was not involved in the arms scandal, also denied the allegation that five properties were acquired by him from the diversion of the $2.1 billion meant for the prosecution of the war against the insurgency in the North-east.
He said: “I was chief of air staff from October 2012 to January 2014 and then appointed CDS. During my time serving as the CDS, funds for weapons were directly released to the chiefs of air staff, army staff and naval staff and not to me. I had no control over the funds and yet I am being accused of embezzling weapons’ funds.”
According to him, the office of the CDS had no operational control of the services and had nothing to do with their spending.
“The EFCC’s claim that I received $800,000 from my Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA) is untrue. I did not receive such money from the erstwhile DFA. If he claims to have given me money, where is the proof? Was it paid into my account? Did I sign for it?” he asked.
On the properties, Badeh said if the EFCC’s claim that the properties belong to him and that they were obtained illegally through proxies, then the agency should go to the court and get an order of forfeiture rather than insisting that he is the owner of the properties.
The former CDS stated that it was unfortunate that the media has unwittingly allowed itself to be used by interested parties to become the judge, jury and executioner in his case.
Badeh said even when the EFCC claimed that billions were found in the accounts of wives of some past air force officers, none was found with his family “yet EFCC keeps generalising and making it look like my family is involved too”.
He said it was rather unfortunate that the nation which he fought so hard for to defend against Boko Haram insurgents could not guarantee his fundamental human rights.
According to him, during his time as the CDS, lives of both soldiers and civilians were lost, acknowledging also that territories were lost in the North-east.
“We fought to regain our nation’s territorial integrity and the insurgents pushed back,” he added.
Badeh said he lost his personal home and hospital in his village (Vimtim in Adamawa State) in defence of his fatherland, stressing that the hospital, which he built many years ago, was equally used in the treatment of injured soldiers.
“Now, I am losing my freedom to the same fatherland that I fought so hard to defend,” Badeh declared.
“During the 2014 Boko haram attack on my village Vimtim, it was widely reported in the media that I sent a helicopter to evacuate my parents and relatives. Which parents? I am an orphan. I lost my father in the 70s and my mother in 2013.
“My cousin, who lived next to me, was killed during the 2014 attack on my village. So who exactly did I evacuate? It is unfortunate that I didn’t come out to clarify some of these issues when they were reported in the media,” he added.
Badeh said he had been detained by the EFCC for three weeks and had still not been charged to court, but was given onerous bail conditions by the commission which he could not meet.
“A remand warrant was hastily obtained on February 25 in Lagos as soon as the EFCC was served with a notice for my bail hearing in court by my lawyers.
“Why detain me for so long and issue such onerous bail conditions when they aren’t ready to charge me to court? I reported to the EFCC when I was invited and would report anytime I am needed.
“All I ask for is to be given a fair hearing with the rule of law strictly adhered to. It is a media trial and I am being persecuted,” Badeh said.