Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma, Chairman, House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Nigeria-United States of America Relations/Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, has flayed Transparency International’s corruption allegations against the Nigeria Army.
Agbonayinma told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that the group was collaborating with disgruntled politicians in the country to undermine the Army, in desperation to heat up the polity.
In its recent report, Transparency International claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to tackle corruption and terrorism was being hampered by lack of transparency in military contract awards.
“Corrupt military officials have been able to benefit from the conflict through the creation of fake defence contracts, the proceeds of which are often laundered abroad in the UK, US and elsewhere.
“This makes it difficult for the military to acquire the required equipment and training to take on the militants who are armed with sophisticated weapons,’’ it said.
But, Agbonayinma who questioned the basis of the report wondered why it was coming at a period when there was apprehension over the health status of Buhari.
He said: “I am highly worried about the report coming from Transparency International. I see it as a report orchestrated, manufactured by political gladiators, scripted by the political gladiators to discredit the military at this particular time.
“This is not because of corruption but because of our political dynamism; there are a lot of rumours hovering around.
“For me, it is something that if care is not taken we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. Politicians should not heat up the system.
“We shouldn’t use the Transparency International to blackmail the military; until proven guilty, you are innocent.
“Just bringing up a report that was cooked up by the political gladiators – we are in the 21st century, we should try not to whip up sentiments to confuse Nigerians to begin to have the fear of the unknown.
“I am not saying the military is 100 per cent perfect, that is not what I’m saying, but before you start pointing accusing fingers at anybody you must have facts and figures so that the populace will be well informed.
“In every sector of this country you will see corruption everywhere. We must be constructive in our dealings and conduct proper investigation to ascertain those who have erred and those who were involved knowingly and unknowingly.
“So, I want to see that investigation that they did. I want to see the name of the banks that collaborated with the military men and women, how the contracts, the monies were transferred to global destinations.”
The lawmaker urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, to unveil the identity of politicians believed to be hobnobbing with soldiers to overthrow the present administration in the country.
He said that 380 billion dollars said to have been embezzled by the Army could be utilised to build good health care system, educational system, mend dilapidated roads and transportation system in the nation