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Presidency, PDP trade words over $1bn ECA security fund

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA—Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, expressed shock at the alleged confession by  National Security Adviser, NSA, Gen. Babagana Mongunu (retd),  that he was not aware of the whereabouts of the disbursement of the $1 billion drawn from Excess Crude Account, ECA, by the Presidency in 2017 for security purposes.

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But the Presidency, in a swift reaction, said it spent $490 million of the money on acquisition of 12 Tucano jets, describing PDP as a party under socio-emotional distress.

However, the PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the confession by the NSA, who coordinates the security architecture of the nation, directly placed a huge burden on President Muhammadu Buhari’s doorsteps over diversion of funds meant for security, while insurgency, banditry, killings and kidnapping fester in the land under his watch.

The statement read:“The revelation by NSA further vindicates PDP on our initial alarm that All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration is overtly corrupt, deceptive and unreliable in  handling the affairs of our nation.

“It further validates the stance of PDP that agents of the Presidency and APC were hiding under the guise of security to siphon the $1 billion from the ECA. This, peharps, informed the desperation by the cabal to draw from the account without recourse to statutory due process of appropriation by the National Assembly.

“From Mongunu’s confession, Nigerians can further see why our nation is daily confronted with disturbing videos and reports of our fighting troops protesting their neglect and inadequate equipping, leading to their vulnerability in the fronts.

“Now that the NSA has declared that he is not aware of the whereabouts of the funds, the burden, straightaway, lies squarely on President Buhari to immediately address the nation on how the money was handled.

“This is especially as there are already allegations in the public space that certain funds meant for security were diverted for 2019 campaign activities of the APC while our troops languished in the front.”

We paid $490m for  12 Tucano jets — Presidency

Meanwhile, the Presidency said, yesterday, that the opposition PDP, was under socio-emotional distress by alleging that the $1 billion approved from Excess Crude Account for security was used by the President Buhari-led APC for the 2019 elections.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said the government under the leadership of President Buhari made an advanced payment of $490 million for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct transaction with the American government.

Shehu, who accused PDP of profligacy while incharge of government at the centre, said the transaction was also on a no contractor and no commission basis.

According to the presidential spokesman, the balance of expenditure from the transaction currently stands at $880 million.

He said:  “It’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about USD490 million for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with government of the United States.

“Various other military procurements have been made. Balance of expenditure stands at about USD 880 million or so.”

Garba, however, accused the PDP of spending defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court.

“The PDP is under a socio-emotional distress. They think that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own.”

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