Former Air Chief Umar, Spent Funds on Laudable Projects, Witness Tells Court


Alex Enumah in Abuja

Commodore Abdullahi Yishau (rtd), the star prosecution witness of the federal government in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Dikko M. Umar, thursday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that Umar during his tenure as Chief of Air Staff (COAS) embarked on “laudable projects” for the Air Force.

Umar, is standing trial on a seven-count charge bordering on financial misappropriation of funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force between 2010 and 2012.

The witness who was Director of Accounts and Finance at the NAF Headquarters during the tenure of Umar as COAS in his lead evidence, disclosed that the NAF was receiving about N4billion monthly as salary emolument.

Under cross-examination by the defence lawyer, Hassan Liman (SAN), the witness disclosed that after the payment of staff salaries from the monthly N4 billion, the ex-COAS, deployed the balance of N1bn to training and “maintenance of NAF assets, fleets and other private projects which include barrack construction and renovation.

“Out of the N1billion, funds were disbursed to heads of units and commands for operational cost.

“NAF hospitals in Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Makurdi were equipped from the money. A comprehensive NAF school in Kano was also constructed during Umar’s stay in office.

“Land for the construction of NAF Conference Centre at Kado, Abuja was also acquired during the defendant’s tenure as COAS,” the witness testified.

Speaking on the annual audit report of the Air Force which was normally carried out by the Auditor-General of Federation, Yishau stated that whatever queries that arose were usually resolved by Umar.

Yishau further stated that estacodes and allowances of personnel as well as aeronautical repairs in Kaduna were carried out from the funds that accrued to the force.

Trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba however adjourned trial of the matter till December 6 and 7, 2017.