- Opposition party under socio-emotional distress, says presidency
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend drew the attention of Nigerians to the ‘shocking’ confession by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd), that he is not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1billion allegedly drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the President Muhammadu Buhari government in 2017 for security purposes.
But in swift reaction to the allegation, the Presidency yesterday declared that the main opposition party was under a socio-emotional distress.
PDP said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, that the confession by the NSA, who coordinates the security architecture of the country, directly places a huge burden at President Buhari’s doorsteps over reported stealing and diversion of funds meant for security, while insurgency, banditry, killings and kidnapping fester in the land under his watch.
He said the revelation by NSA further vindicates the PDP on its initial alarm that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration is overtly corrupt, deceptive and unreliable in the handling the affairs of Nigeria.
According to the statement, “It further validates the stance of the PDP that agents of the Buhari presidency and the APC were hiding under the guise of security to siphon the $1billion from the ECA. This, perhaps, informed the desperation by the cabal to draw from the account without recourse to statutory due process of appropriation by the National Assembly.
“From Mongunu’s confession, Nigerians can further see why our country is daily confronted with disturbing videos and reports of our fighting troops protesting their neglect and inadequate equipping, leading to their vulnerability in was fronts.
“Now that the NSA has declared that he is not aware of the whereabouts of funds, the burden, straightaway, lies squarely on President Buhari to immediately address the country on how the money was handled.
“This is especially as there are already allegations in the public space that certain funds meant for security were diverted for 2019 campaign activities of the APC while our troops languished in was front.
“Our party had always alerted Nigerians that the APC administration was insincere in the handling of the ECA fund leading to our demand in 2017 for the National Assembly to investigate the handling of the $1billion.
“The PDP hereby restates our demand that President Buhari should allow for a system-wide investigation into the whereabouts of the $1billion as well as the handling of other funds meant for security purposes under his watch.”
Furthermore, the party called on Nigerians to note that such diversion of funds in the Buhari administration led to the articulation of a blueprint by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for a transparent system that eliminates siphoning of funds, particularly in the critical sectors.
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday declared that the PDP was under a socio-emotional distress.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, described PDP’s allegation as ‘rubbish’.
“The PDP is under a socio-emotional distress. They think that all governs in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own.”
Giving account of how the money withdrawn from the excess crude account was spent, he said, “here is what happened to that $1 billion. “t’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about $490 million for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no contractors or commission agents) transaction with government of the United States.
“Various other military procurements have been made. Balance of expenditure stands at about $880 million or so.”
He said that barring considerations of national security, the details of the stage of implementation, the procurements made and the suppliers could be obtained on Monday (today), a workday.
Differentiating Buhari’s administration from the immediate past PDP administration, he said that the now opposition party spent defence procurement funds on 2015 election campaigns.
“The PDP spent defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court.
“That is not to say every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same,” he stated