Based on the legal maxim of ‘Nemo judex non causa sua’, that one can’t be a judge in his own case, President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday asked to go for internationally acclaimed military weapons forensic auditors rather than the just constituted panel made up of Nigerian military officers to probe arms purchases since the year 2007.
Making this observation in a statement, the pro-transparency nongovernmental body – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, in a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, further asked President Buhari to explore the possibility of procuring forensic investigators of global repute who are vast in weapons’ auditing from the United Nations to supervise the transparent weapons auditing process as that is the most realistic and transparent way to uncover the extent of rot and corruption in the procurement mechanisms of Defence and policy sectors.
The Rights group said extant espirit de corps amongst top ranking military Generals may impede unbiased and critically objective probe of military procurement mechanisms since 2007 and therefore render the entire process a nullity and fait accompli.
HURIWA’s reactions followed the disclosure by the presidency that it had set up a committee made up largely of Nigerian military officers to probe arms procurements covering the last two federal administrations since the commencement of the counter-terrorism war in the country.
Specifically, the federal government inaugurated a 13-man committee to investigate military weapon purchases from 2007 till date.
HURIWA recalled that the committee was constituted by the National Security Adviser Retired Major-General Babagana Monguno on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, announced that the committee has Air Vice Marshall J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) as President and members are Rear Admiral J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.); R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.); Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.); Brig Gen M. Aminun-Kano (rtd.); Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.); Cdre T.D. Ikoli.
Others are Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’I; Col A.A. Ariyibi; Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.); Mr. I. Magu (EFCC) and Brig. Gen. Y.I. Shalangwa, Secretary.
The group said the composition of the probe panel made up largely of top flight military officers may not instill confidence in the people of Nigeria that a dispassionate process would be activated just as the Rights group said the membership of the probe committee is unwieldy and unnecessary.
HURIWA said: “ Although our platform has consistently championed the advocacy for a thoroughbred and comprehensive forensic auditing of military and police weapons procurement mechanisms but we aren’t comfortable with the decision of Mr. President to set up what on the surface appears like a contraption activated to reach a predetermined conclusions either/or depending on where the pendulum of the desires and/or whims of the appointing authority goes.”


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