CAS: Weâ€™ve reformed our procurement system
Paul Obi in Abuja
Transperancy International (TI) thursday informed the Nigerian armed forces that corruption in the military is dangerous, divisive, wasteful and fuels insurgency.
It said where graft is entrenched among military establishment, was dangerous.
This was made known at a one-day Leadership Workshop organised by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in conjunction with Transparency International and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CSLAC).
Senior Advisor to TI, Ian Andrews, explained that high level of corruption in the military has the tendency to derail national growth, development and even stir up insurgencies and warfare.
He maintained that the problem of corruption in military establishments across the globe, adding that corruption in military procurement was not peculiar to Nigeria, but a global challenge which undermines confidence in state institutions.
He said: â€œCorruption in military establishment is dangerous, divisive and wasteful with far reaching consequencies on the state, and fuels insurgency.
â€œSoldiers, sailors will die as a result of it, nations would fail as a consequence of it. Itâ€™s divisive because it undermines confidence and public trust in the institutions of the state and of officers.
â€œItâ€™s wasteful because too much is spent on the wrong things which do not meet the needs of the armed forces.
â€œCorruption in the military is a tool for recruiting insurgents as civil society becomes delusion,â€ Andrews stated.
He rather expressed confidence that the standard raised by Nigerian military institutions based on the approaches adopted by the present leadership would bring about trust and position the nationâ€™s military for transparency and efficiency.
Andrew in his submission pointed out developments in military institutions in Indonesia, Columbia, Uganda, Iraq and other nations where corruption has taken deep root.
â€œThere is need to build integrity, confidence and resilience as important tools to combat the monster of corruption. This, of course will lead to operational effectiveness. In some countries I mentioned, this is being done and things have really improved.
â€œCorruption in the defence destroys the institution of the state and it is a huge global challenge that needs to be tackled. It is also a huge challenge facing the whole world,â€ Andrews stressed.
Speaking, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, explained that following the 2014-2015 Report of Transparency International on Government Defence Procurement System, the present leadership of the NAF has carried out reforms to ensure transparency and integrity of the entire system.
Abubakar said: â€œI think it would be most appropriate to give a brief background on the reason why this NAF Leadership Day workshop is being organised and the expected benefit of the workshop to the NAF.
â€œSometime ago, Transparency International conducted an independent survey and came up with a â€œGovernment Defence Anti-Corruption Index (61).
â€œThe survey was conducted between Year 2014 and 2015. The report of the survey ranked Nigeria amongst the highest risk corruption categories in the defence and security sector.
â€œThe document suggested ways forward, with one cardinal recommendation being the need for defence sector reforms, including an overhaul of the procurement process.â€
He further stated: â€œLet me state here clearly that the period covered by the Index, that is 2014-2015, coincided with a period when the NAF used to procure its equipment and material through a NAF Tenders Board; a procedure which was hitherto adjudged as being not sufficiently transparent and not in consonance with international best practices.
â€œHowever, in order to ensure transparency and integrity of the system, the NAF has since instituted various changes in the procurement process and procedure within the ambit of the Public Procurement Act 2007.â€
He stated: â€œThis led to the establishment of a Directorate of Procurement tasked with the responsibility of coordinating all procurement activities in the NAF.
â€œThe Directorate is staffed with well-trained technical and legal personnel to ensure that NAF obtains value for money spent while at the same time, adhering to the law.
â€œIn addition, the NAF is vigorously following through on the governmentâ€™s directive to deal directly with foreign governments that is (government to government), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and authorised Equipment Maintenance Repair Organisations (MROs) in the acquisition of spares and/or maintenance of NAF equipment rather than with some third-party organisations. However, there have been challenges especially in dealing with some governments.
â€œIn line with my vision to reposition the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force, some of our enduring key drivers has remained capacity building through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance and also reinforcing the culture of self-reliance and prudent management of resourcesâ€.
â€œConsequently, we have taken numerous steps to build the capacity of our procurement staff. Several of our personnel have undergone trainings and courses both at home and abroad,â€ he said.