*AVMs under house arrest; DMI sacked
*Ex-CAS to be held for 2 weeks
*More top military brass arrested, questioned
As EFCC arrests AVM in CDS’ entourage
By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North &Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—The Nigerian Airforce High Command stepped up its anti-corruption war, yesterday, with the removal of officers, including Air Officers Commanding, AOCs, fingered in the $2.1billion arms scandal and appointed new officers to replace them.
As a result, Vanguard gathered that about four senior officers, Air Vice Marshals, AVMs, and Commodores, (names with-held) are now under house arrest at Niger Barracks, Abuja, awaiting completion of interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before they would know their fate. That is besides RA Ojuawo, an Air Vice Marshal, arrested Tuesday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on his way to Germany, by EFCC operatives.
It was also gathered that a former service chief, who was allowed to go home the first time he was invited, had been detained since Wednesday when he was re-invited and may be detained for up to two more weeks, following approval by the courts for his continued detention.
This development came on a day more military personnel fingered in the disbursement of the $2.1bn arms money were arrested and questioned by the Military high command, even as the Director of Military Intelligence, Brig-General Mohammed Sa’ad, was sacked over alleged connection with the arms scam.
Arrest of Jonathan’s ADC
On Wednesday night, Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe, former Aide-de-Camp to former President Goodluck Jonathan was arrested in Lagos, just as he arrived Nigeria.
No reason was immediately given for the arrest of Adegbe, who is presently undergoing a senior military training programme in the United Kingdom. Col. Adegbe was sent for the training programme in the UK shortly after serving as ADC to Jonathan.
Competent security sources said the officer, from the Military Intelligence Corps, was picked up by military officers detailed to arrest him upon his arrival.
But a top military source told Vanguard on condition of anonymity that Adegbe was recalled from the UK to answer to certain issues related to his tenure as ADC to former President Jonathan but did not say what the issues were.
However, another military officer conversant with the arrest of the former ADC said the arrest was in connection with the allegation that he and another aide of the former President now on the run, were the arrowhead of disbursing N10 billion to PDP delegates in Abuja in 2014. The money is said to have been supplied by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the orders of the embattled former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).
Adegbe and the former adviser to Jonathan on domestic matters, are said to have been mentioned by Dasuki in his statement to the EFCC filed before a Federal High Court hearing the corruption case preferred against him by the Federal Government.
Dasuki had said in the statement: “That I am aware in November (I cannot remember the exact date), my office requested the CBN to exchange N10billion from the account of the Office of National Security Adviser domiciled in CBN.
“The money was exchanged at $47m and some Euros, which I cannot remember. The exact amount was delivered at my residence. The money was for delegates that attended the convention for the PDP Presidential nomination. The money was paid and sent to (Waripamowei) Dudafa (SSAP Household) and ADC (C-I-C) for distribution on the instruction of the President.
“Based on the statement of Director of Finance and Administration (Salisu), Ibrahim Wambai, and Yazidu Ibrahim, all the cash (both foreign and local) are usually given to them for official use.”
Vanguard learned that the arrest of Adegbe was an indication that he and other military officers might be used by the government as witnesses against Dasuki, whose three cases are pending in various courts. A source close to the officer confirmed that he was being detained at Abacha Barracks, one of the highbrow military garrisons in the FCT reserved for top-ranking military officers.
DMI boss removed
The detention coincides with the removal of the Brigadier-General Abubakar Sa’ad, who was until this week, the Director of Military Intelligence under the current Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai.
Sa’ad, who was fingered in the arms scam and had been facing interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had been eased out quietly by the military to enable him clear himself with the anti-crime agency. He was Defence Adviser in Mali before being appointed DMI director and had been replaced by Major General Tarfa, in acting capacity.
Major shake-up in NAF
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has announced the redeployment of 66 senior officers, comprising 22 Air Vice Marshals; 34 Air Commodores, seven Group Captains and three Wing Commanders.
Those affected by the new deployment include two branch chiefs, two Air Officers Commanding, AOCs, and one commandant.
The newly appointed branch chiefs are AVM Ademola Jekennu, formerly the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at the Tactical Air Command, Makurdi. He is now Chief of Administration (COA) at the Headquarters of Nigerian Air Force.
He takes over from Air Vice Marshal Mamu who is facing EFCC probe over the $2.1billion arms scam. Air Cdre Clement Ogbeche is now Chief of Accounts and Budget, HQ NAF. He takes over from AM Adigun who is also facing EFCC interrogation.
Director of Air Force Public relations, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, who released the new postings, yesterday, gave the names of the new AOCs as AVMs Emmanuel Akogu and Emmanuel Agwungwu who now head the mobility command, Yenagoa; and Tactical Air Command, Makurdi respectively. Agwungwu takes over from AVM Ojuawo who is facing EFCC interrogation.
He said that until their appointments, AVM Emmanuel Akogu was the Director of Evaluation at HQ NAF, while AVM Emmanuel Agwungwu was Director of Training, HQ NAF.
In the same vein, AVM Christopher Gudi, former Director of Air Traffic Services at HQ NAF now replaces AVM Mike Iloenyosi as Commandant, Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi.
AVM Lawal Alao has been moved from Defence Headquarters, where he was Chief of Defence Communication, to head the NAF Holding Company (NAFHC) as Managing Director.
Famuyiwa said that others affected by the new deployments include AVM Isiaka Amao, formerly Deputy Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole and now Director of Policy at HQ NAF; former Commander, Nigerian Air Defence Corps (NADC), AVM Bernard Chiobi now Chairman, Air Expo and International Liaison secretariat; AVM Bashir Saidu, former Director of Policy at HQ NAF now moved to DHQ as Chief of Policy and Plans; AVM Muktar Magaji now redeployed as Chief of Defence Communication at DHQ.
Others are AVM Emmanuel Anebi who has been moved from training command to DHQ as Director of Production, while AVM Ibrahim Umaru moves to DHQ as Director of Space Operations; AVM Charles Otegbade, formerly Director of Search and Rescue at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) moves to HQ NAF as Director of Air Traffic Services.
Also redeployed are AVM Olusoji Awomodu, now Director, Research and Development at DHQ; AVM Okechukwu Ntukogu, Director of Personnel Services at DHQ; AVM Sani Ahmed, Director of Plans, HQ NAF; AVM Stephen Onuh, Director of Evaluation, HQ NAF; Kingsley Lar, Coordinator, Project Implementation and Monitoring Team, HQ NAF; AVM Christian DII, Director of NAF Transformation; AVM Humphrey Okpala, Director of Museums and Archives; AVM John Baba, Director of Training, HQ NAF; AVM Isyaka Bukar, Director of Air Engineering, HQ NAF, and Mohammed Muhammad, Director of Legal Services, HQ NAF.
According to him, the recent deployment is a routine exercise aimed at ensuring that the NAF is effectively manned for operational efficiency and effectiveness, in line with the vision of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.
How Ojuawo was arrested
Air Vice Marshal R.A. Ojuawo, arrested by EFCC operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was on his way out of the country, in the entourage of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, billed to attend a meeting of the United States Africa Command in Germany on Sunday.
The source said, “The event, which they were going to attend, was about the activities of the military in the fight against insurgency. AVM Ojuawo was the one that was supposed to deliver the keynote address on behalf of the Nigerian Air Force.
“However, a team of EFCC detectives stormed the airport and refused to allow him travel. All the senior military officers present pleaded with the detectives but they refused to listen. We explained to them that we had invested a lot of time and energy in putting together the report that Ojuawo was supposed to present.
“The Air Force had done feasibility studies on how to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons and was going to present the report in Germany.
“We promised them that immediately we were done with the event, Ojuawo would return and visit the EFCC but the detectives said he was a flight risk.”