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Arms Fund: Defence Ministry, Service Chiefs, CBN, Others Shun Reps’ Invitation

 The House Ad-Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria on Monday expressed its displeasure with the non-appearance by Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies billed to appear before it.

The committee had invited the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; service chiefs, and other heads of paramilitary agencies.

The security and service chiefs are to explain the procurement and deployment of arms and ammunition in their respective agencies.

The committee disclosed on Monday that the Ministry of Defence and the Central Bank of Nigeria were also invited.

Penultimate Friday, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), had alleged that $1bn funds meant to purchase arms to tackle insurgency during the ex-service chiefs’ tenure got missing, a statement that generated controversy.

Monguno, had in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation early that Friday, alleged that neither the funds nor the weapons the ex-service chiefs were meant to buy could be traced.

Monguno added that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum was also wondering where all the funds meant for arms went. According to him, the President will soon order a probe into the matter.

However, in a statement by his office later on Friday, the NSA recanted his earlier allegations, saying he was quoted out of context.

While he admitted granting the BBC interview under reference, he denied saying funds meant for the purchase of arms had gone missing.

The committee had consequently resolved to investigate the matter. Several members of the committee criticised the CBN particularly, accusing the apex bank of serially shunning summons by the National Assembly.

They, therefore, summoned Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele; and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

Members of the ad-hoc committee, chaired by Olaide Akinremi, summoned both men on Monday after they failed to honour an earlier invitation extended to them.

The motion for their summon was moved by a lawmaker, Bede Eke, who was furious that the army chief, for a second time, did not appear before the committee despite having rejected his representative on the first day of the hearing which held on March 12.

The lawmakers are among the committee that is reviewing the purchase, use, and control of arms, ammunition, and related hardware by the military, paramilitary, and other law enforcement agencies in the country.

They had invited Attahiru and Emefiele to appear before them on Monday to answer questions relating to the purchase of arms for the security agencies.

The army chief and CBN governor, however, failed to appear before the committee, an action which was condemned by the lawmakers.

Read also: Arms Fund: Presidency Says No Money Is Missing, Explains How $1bn Was Spent

Thereafter, the lawmakers passed a resolution to summon Attahiru and Emefiele to appear before them on April 7, 2021.

Recently, it was alleged that funds meant for the purchase of arms were missing under the leadership of the former service chiefs.

The claim was credited to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno, during an interview with BBC Hausa Service earlier in March.

While the former service chiefs have since denied the allegation, the office of the NSA also said Monguno was quoted out of context and did not categorically make such a claim.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, also clarified the controversy triggered by the claim during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing … the reference by it in the interview with Hausa Service of the BBC by the National Security Adviser, I think, has been misconstrued and mistranslated,” he said.

ovu: Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 3/23/2021 01:17:00 pm


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