May 8, 2017

I briefed Buhari about NIA’s $289m covert projects — NSA Monguno

NSA Babagana-Monguno

*As Amaechi flays Wike’s failure to prove allegations

By Jimitota Onoyume, with agency report

ABUJA— National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, has said he informed President Muhammadu Buhari about the National Intelligence Agency, NIA’s covert operations that went awry with the discovery of over N13 billion in an apartment in Lagos last month.

NSA Babagana-Monguno

This came as Minister of Transportion, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, said failure of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to make real his threat go to court over the $43 million found in a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, was a clear indication that he lied that the money allegedly belonged to him (Amaechi).

According to online portal, Premium Times, Monguno knew about the covert operation, took part in its gradual advancement and expressed the satisfaction of not only himself but that of the President over the diligence and professionalism of NIA personnel executing the intelligence projects.

“Detailed brief of this exercise was rendered to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who expressed satisfaction on your agency’s foresighted disposition on development of its critical infrastructure,” Mr. Monguno said in a letter to the Director-General of the NIA, Ayodele Oke.

The May 17, 2016 correspondence, with reference number: NSA/332/S, was written to Mr. Oke as part of the of NSA’s oversight activities concerning the NIA covert operations, which was already underway at the time.

Three months earlier, Monguno had raised a three-member panel to inspect the projects the NIA was undertaking as part of the clandestine operations approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

In its report to the NSA on February 29, the team expressed satisfaction with the level of progress on the overt and covert projects, which has a budget of $289 million.

The panel, which Monguno described in a document as having conducted “a comprehensive inspection of the NIA projects both in Lagos and Abuja,” was led by Adeyinka Famadewa, a brigadier-general in the Nigerian Army with specialities in military intelligence.

Although Monguno did not openly deny knowledge of the operations and projects, several Presidency sources, according to Premium Times, have suggested that neither the NSA nor the president was briefed about the $289 million released to the NIA or the projects being executed with it.

President Buhari also indicated that he did not know about the operation when he suspended Mr. Oke from office and set up a panel to investigate the “circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there had been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.”

 Amaechi flays Wike’s failure to prove allegations

Wike had at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, vowed to go to court if the Federal Government failed to return the money to the stafe’s coffer, insisting it belonged to Rivers State.

But Amaechi in a statement released by his media office, yesterday, said the failure of the governor to approach a court with his allegations at the expiration of his ultimatum showed that he lied against him.

The statement read: “The seven-day ultimatum has long expired, yet no action, whether legal or otherwise by Wike to prove his malicious allegations and claim to the money.

“Again, on Friday, May 6, another wonderful opportunity was open for Wike to prove his frivolous allegations against Amaechi and claim the money, before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

“The judge had on April 13, directed that anyone who owns the money should come forward to claim it. Neither Wike nor his lawyers were any where near the court. Again, another no show.

“Wike’s failure to prove his allegations against Amaechi in a court of law or even in the court of public opinion clearly vindicates our position and completely exonerates Amaechi of any link or connection to the Ikoyi money and apartment.

“Finally, we insist that Wike must go to court, like he vowed to prove his frivolous claims that the over $43 million Ikoyi money and luxury apartment belongs to Amaechi and were stolen from Rivers State by Amaechi; or be ready to face the wrath of the law.”