• COAS sets up committee to verify weapons nationwide
Paul Obi in Abuja
Following several cases of unaccounted arms and ammunition in the military, the Nigerian Army on Monday revealed that weapons purchased by the military were delivered straight to theatre of operations without due diligence and proper documentation and accounting.
There have been increasing cases of missing arms and ammunition in the military in which, weapons for operations could not be traced or accounted for.
There are also insinuations that most arms and ammunition purchased during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to combat terrorism could not be traced as well.
The current trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has also been linked to diversion of funds for the purchase of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
Inaugurating the committee to verify arms and ammunitions in all Army, nationwide, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, explained that “arms verification exercises across all NA formations remain highly valuable to the NA, hence it is carried out annually or as at when necessary.
“The NA has an existing procedure for checks and balances in which formations and units render computerised arms returns for accounting purposes. These laid down procedures have over time been jettisoned or compromised for various reasons.”
Buratai stated that “the Nigerian Army has procured different types of arms for the conduct of training and operations. However, we have discovered that some of these weapons were delivered straight to various theatres of operation without following the proper process of documentation and accounting.
“This has sometimes resulted in double accounting by many formations especially those involved in counter-insurgency and other military operations in aid of civil authority.
“The resultant effect of these improper arms handling has necessitated the need to reconcile and constantly update returns in line with data bases held at Army Headquarters.”
He added that “there is therefore the need to have accurate records of the holding in various depots and arms stores across the NA. It is to this end that your committees were convened to go round all the units and formations in the NA to verify their arms holdings.
“Your committee’s report will complement existing accounting procedures with a view to enhancing efficient planning support for ongoing NA operations.
“As committee members, you have all been carefully selected based on your proven record of integrity and meticulousness.
“I have no doubt that you will all do a great job. I have directed AHQ DAPP and the various formations to provide you with all the necessary logistics required for the completion of assigned tasks.
“You are enjoined to visit all units and formations in your areas of assigned tasks and render a comprehensive report on completion of the verification exercise.
“Let me hasten to add that arms and ammunition issues are secret matters, hence you are to treat this assignment with the seriousness and secrecy it deserves.”