The Nigerian Army has warned a group known as Save the Nation Movement, STNM, not to drag the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai and the entire Nigerian Army into the ongoing $2.1billion arms scandal involving the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and some retired top shots in the military.
The group, in a release signed by its National Secretary, Steven Chilaka last Sunday, demanded that Buratai be included among those indicted in the ongoing probe of abuse of funds meant for the procurement of arms because he (Buratai) was the Director of Procurement at the Defence Headquarters, DHQ.
But the Nigerian Army said the call by the group is an attempt to rubbish the hard earned name and reputation of Buratai and the Nigerian Army by a faceless group through orchestrated campaign of calumny in the media.
Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman said in a statement yesterday that apart from scandalizing the COAS, the movement could not get their facts right as has always been the case with people with dubious intents.
Col. Usman stressed that, contrary to their mischief, it should be noted that General Buratai was Director of Procurement at Defence Headquarters from March 2014 to May 2015, not from 2012 to 2015 as they wished to mislead the public.
He drew the attention of the public to the fact that the Army had earlier warned of this type of campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff. “This has again reared its ugly head again”, Usman lamented.
The statement said further that, there is the need to educate the ignorant group that, Defence Procurement in Nigeria is decentralised; adding that each Service is responsible for its procurement. It is advisable for the group to look elsewhere if they want to attack the Chief of Army Staff.
Part of the statement reads: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief of Army Staff has never been involved in any questionable act throughout his career as military officer let alone when he was at the DHQ.
“As a matter of fact, the Chief of Army Staff has always been a reference point in exemplary conduct, probity and integrity. It is on record that he voluntarily declared his assets both as Commander MNJTF and as Chief of Army Staff. In addition, he has directed all Nigerian Army officers to do so.
“One wonders what the faceless group’s motive is and why they are in a hurry to rubbish the good name of the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army, when there is a Presidential Panel already working selflessly. Why is the group trying to jump the gun? Let these mischievous elements which Steven Chilaka represents, allow the Panel to discharge its duties dispassionately as it is doing.
“It is advisable also that the faceless group should get their facts right and not just merely speculate or disturb us with their wishful thinking. They should further understand that whatever mischievous intentions they have against the Chief of Army Staff and indeed, the Nigerian Army, both would not be deterred, we shall remain focused and never to be distracted.”
Nigerian Pilot recalls that last week, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to investigate some serving and retired military officers over procurement of arms for the military, but STNM wondered why Buratai, who was said to be the director of procurement between 2012 and 2015, was excluded.
STNM’s statement reads, “Major General Tukur Buratai was appointed director of procurement DHQ in 2012, a position he held until May 2015 that he was appointed force commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTNF), an appointment he held till he became chief of army staff,” Steven Chilaka, national secretary of the movement, said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“As director of public procurement at the DHQ, all procurements by the military between 2012 and May 2015 passed through his office. Our question is; how can you probe procurement of arms within this period without the involvement of Major General Buratai, the man who was the director of procurement?
“Curiously too, only retired and serving officers of the Nigerian Air Force were said to have been indicted. Was the army being excluded from this probe to save Major General Buratai? Or could procurements have been made without his involvement during the period that he was Director of Procurement?
“Definitely, it won’t be funny if President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption is also selective against the military as it already appears to be against the political class and the president must look into this obvious case of selective probe as a matter of urgency.”

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  • Lukeman_Mohd

    We are watching. It is just a matter of time