Army Yet to Make Arrests After Buratai’s Warning, Says Spokesman

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The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman
  • Transparency Int’l: N4.62tn allocated to defence sector in five years, unaccounted for
  • Reveals graft in sector undermined war against insurgency
  •  DHQ: Report is targeted at blocking support for war against terror

Senator Iroegbu and Paul Obi in Abuja

Following the revelation by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, of attempts by some politicians to infiltrate the military, the Nigerian Army said Thursday that it was yet to make any arrests.

This is just as a report by Transparency International (TI) stated Thursday that the Nigerian defence and security sector is steeped in corruption, revealing that over N4.6 trillion ($15 billion) allocated to the sector in five years was either embezzled or unaccounted for.

Buratai on Tuesday had warned officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics and politicians, whom he claimed were attempting to influence them.

He said the Nigerian Army headquarters had received information that some individuals had been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.

On this basis, Buratai warned such persons to desist from these acts and ordered his men to remain apolitical.

But responding to questions Thursday on whether the army has arrested, interrogated or questioned any of its officers or soldiers allegedly contacted by the said politicians, army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, said no one had been interrogated and no arrests had been made.

He said: “We have always been open and transparent with information and if there is anything, we will let the public know.”

Usman did not elaborate on any move to investigate the matter beyond the warning handed down to officers and soldiers in the army by the COAS.
Buratai’s warning brought to the fore the spectre of a coup plot, amid concerns arising from President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill health and absence from the country.

The president left the country for the United Kingdom almost two weeks ago for a medical follow-up on an undisclosed ailment.
His current trip is the third medical-related trip he has made in less than one year, fuelling speculations about his ability to lead the country.

Defence Sector Corruption

Meanwhile, a report has stated that the Nigerian defence and security sector is steeped in corruption, revealing that over N4.6 trillion ($15 billion) allocated to the sector in five years was either embezzled or unaccounted for.

The report, which was released in Abuja Thursday by Transparency International (TI), in conjunction with and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), added that the graft in the sectors has undermined the war against the insurgency in the North-east.

The 19-page report titled: ‘Weaponising Transparency: Defence Procurement Reform as a Counter-terrorism Strategy in Nigeria,’ stated that the unforgivable damage defence corruption has done to the nation’s political stability, counter-terrorism efforts, socio-economic development and wellbeing of Nigerian citizens, was undeniable.

Speaking during the launch of the report, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the report focused more on the consequences of defence sector corruption, because of the sharp increases in the North-east ad hoc defence spending between 2011 and 2015 with fruitless outcomes.

“Yet, operations in the region were hampered by equipment, material and pay shortages,” he said.

Musa added: “Corruption is not far-fetched in Nigeria’s defence sector. In 2014, the TI Defence Anti-Corruption Index, a global study of corruption risk levels in national defence establishments, detailed the many areas where corruption risks are high in Nigeria and analysed the consequences.
“The research showed that lethally armed criminal networks, operating with the tacit support of local and foreign business mafias, and championed by powerful military ‘godfathers’, illegally siphoned off about $1 billion each year in petroleum.

“Amidst claims by Nigerian security agencies that they were being underfunded, it has been revealed that a total of N4.62 trillion was allocated to the federal security sector from 2010 to 2015.
“How this huge sum was spent, however, remains unclear as there is no reliable performance reports by the security agencies.
“The efforts of the security agencies – the military, police, secret police – to contain violence and insurgencies have been attributed to incapacity and deep corruption.”

Musa further stated that procurement in the defence sector is most vulnerable to corruption, noting that in addition to the volume of transactions and the financial interests at stake, corruption risks are exacerbated by the complexity of the process, close interaction between defence officials and businesses, and the multitude of stakeholders.
He said the report identified the types of corruption in the defence procurement process to include embezzlement, undue influence in the needs assessment, single source contracting, unaccountable and overpaid agents, obscure defence budgets, fraud in bid evaluations, and invoices or contract obligations.

Musa said the report also revealed that “more than half of foreign bribery cases occurred to obtain a public procurement contract, with almost two-thirds of foreign bribery cases occurring in sectors associated with contracts or licensing through public procurement”.

The report also revealed how Nigerians in the defence sector, with influence of political connections, stole N1.3 trillion ($4.3 billion) over a period of seven years through arms equipment deals, as well as another N610 billion ($2 billion), which was allegedly stolen or diverted under the watch of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

But in its reaction to the report, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) debunked the corruption allegations levelled against it and other security institutions in the country by TI and CISLAC.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, DHQ spokesman, Major-General John Enenche, accused TI of attempting to block the current support the Nigerian defence sector is getting in the war against terrorism from concerned countries.

He noted that the present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria has done a lot to train, boost troops’ morale and procure vital equipment through due process for the North-east operations against Boko Haram, in particular, and other operations.

Enenche explained that the Nigerian military has been commended by the United Nations (UN) on its war against the insurgency, adding that TI was working hard to destroy the good image it has established for itself.

He said: “Let me start by making it clear that this sweeping allegation is false. The present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria has done a lot to train, boost troops’ morale and procure vital equipment through due process for the North-east operations against Boko Haram, in particular, and other operations.

“The Defence Headquarters, army, navy and air force have established procurement branches that are guided by the rules and regulations of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

“The Ministry of Defence deals directly with states and governments on defence equipment procurement without using contractors or vendors any longer.

“It is suspicious that a sweeping statement of corruption against military officials is being made. At a time like this, it is rather disheartening.

“More so when the Nigerian military on March 22, 2017 was credited by the UN as having done very well to fight the insurgency and extremism, among others vices; with advice to other countries to learn from Nigeria.

“In addition, such an allegation coming at the peak of the successes being recorded in our areas of operational engagements and the North-east, in particular, must be treated with utmost suspicion.”

Enenche stressed that the Armed Forces remains focused and committed to providing security to lives and property and totally loyal and subordinated to the Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

  • Iskacountryman

    do you expect the army to arrest obasanjo, ibb and abubakar, just like that?

    • Daniel Obior

      Would you ask the same question of Jonathan, for instance? Were you not one of those clamouring for his arrest? Why can’t these military heads of state be arrested for the corruption of their governments? I forgot you are a military apologist.

      • Iskacountryman

        because they are military heads of state…

        • Daniel Obior

          Thought as much; military apologist.

          • Iskacountryman

            stop thinking…you will get a headache…

          • Daniel Obior

            Already got one from a military apologist.

  • Dgwadawa

    Transparency International (TI) has long lost my respect. In this incomplete report, if I am to believe that it is not just another report to support Buhari, why has TI limited its investigation to the time during Jonathan’s Administration? The truth to be told, and if Transparency International (TI) is to regain any credibility, we would be to see the report include ALL former military leaders. Where did these former leaders gain their wealth? How did some of the friends and families of these former leaders that run the Nigerian economy today gain their wealth? Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babagida, Buhari, Abubakar, etc, if you want us to respect your report, go back as far as Gowan. And if evidence exonerates any, then let it be so.

    Has anyone noticed that the only easy target they can talk about is a civilian past president? What are you afraid of Transparency International (TI). I cannot speak for any past leader as to what they may or may not have embezzled, but I find it comical that the focus of the report only goes back to Jonathan. This is pure rubbish and so is war again corruption that only looks only at the immediate past administration.

  • Daniel Obior

    Corruption if the military in this country is not news. The military ran the most corrupt governments in this country, when it was in power, which was over a period of 30 years in total. The TI report covering only a few recent years in the tip of the iceberg. The lion share of annual budget went to defence during the military era, and defence still commands the top two highest budget even during the civilian era. Rather than spend the money upgrading and updating hardware, and training personnel to improve combat readiness, the defence budgets became ATMs for our corrupt military. The result was the culmination into the lack of ammunition and lack of preparedness to take on Boko Haram. In a sane country, those responsible for the rot, would be prosecuted and jailed. Not in Nigeria where there are no consequences but instead they enjoy adulation. Despite all the talks about fighting corruption under this president, who anyway is one of them, the corruption in the military persists. Two of the last four presidents were military men who of course did not have the moral authority to check the corruption in the military, being products of the malfeasance. The two non-military ones were too timid without the guts to take on the problem. In such a situation, the beat will simple go on and on, which is unfortunate.

  • D a n g o t e-C e m e n t
  • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

    TI is headquartered in Berlin.
    I bet if it spent as much time probing the finances of the EU right on it’s door step, the corruption in the financial centres of London and down the road from it’s headquarters in Berlin, there would not be as much time to poke it’s runny nose into the affairs of the Nigerian Army.
    Not all of us are unaware of the real skull duggery reasons behind this report.
    TI clean the dirt in your eye first!!!!

    • Marcus Ijele

      It is poking because it moving toward touching Buratai. Nigeria is like any other country. She can not live in isolation from public scrutiny. If the Military has compromised their profession,it becomes necessary to check those areas and stop it. Corruption is not peculiar to Politicians alone. The army or rather the security agencies have their own way of doing the un supposed. If you are one of them, defend the allegation constructively and not counter accusing them of poke nosing. It is their duty.

    • jasper123

      Did you say exactly this when the northern elite relied on similar reports by TI and others to demand that a certain COAS of South Eastern extraction be prosecuted by the ICC in the last administration? Do you need the TI report to even tell us that the most corrupt establishments in the system include our military and other paramilitary formations? Were some of us not happy when US sighted Human rights violations by our military as one of the reasons why ammos were not sold to nigeria to aid in the fight against insurgency during the last administration? Has anything changed now, other than the fact that we have a saintly president who can never do wrong?

    • BankyMons

      My very good friend @mkadiri:disqus!!!!! As always you got there before me! TI is a huge joke – time Africans turn their backs to these useless organisations.

  • Boniface Nnajiofor

    The truth of the matter which Amnesty International may be afraid to say is that all the nothern past Presidents has ran Nigeria down in complicity with Obasanjo

  • Milito

    Thanks all for the submissions . TI is simply another arm of European bodies and twist in the manipulation of Nigeria for their selfish ends. It’s high time we stop listening to these morons who never meant well for our development but keep feasting from our instability. They always pitch successive governments against each other and gets the masses to rise against any government in place simply because our people are too gullible both the leaders and the lead. They use religion and the economy to divide us and when it becomes convenient for them they eliminate our leaders via their nefarious means. I really don’t know why Yardua and Buhari are subjecting themselves to these hypocrites medical assistance …? PMB better should have known better.!

  • moribund9ja

    Haaaaaaahahahaha

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    The army should actually be encouraged to take over and cleanse Nigeria the way Jerry Rawlings did Ghana.

  • BankyMons

    For some of these organisations – it’s a matter of deal or die. We are not all uninformed good-for-nothing Africans – we know who you are and what you represent. Go shove your report into that place where sun does not shine!!!