By Abdulmumin Murtala
A COALITION of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the aegis of Nigeria Democracy Working Group, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari must act urgently to investigate the allegations of missing $1 billion released for procurement of arms to fight insecurity.
It would be recalled that the National Security Adviser, NSA, to the President, Babagana Monguno, recently alleged in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service that the whopping amount of money had been released to the immediate past service chiefs, but the arms are yet to be procured.
However, in an open letter written to President Buhari, dated March 23, the group expressed concern over the issue, demanding for immediate setting up of a committee to investigate the allegation. In the letter, signed by Dr. Ibrahim Mahmud, co-convener, Nigerian Democracy Working Group, the group noted that an allegation of that magnitude, coming from a highly placed individual like the NSA must not be swept under the carpet.
The group also cautioned that the matter should not be about personalities or individuals, noting that: “We should rather be mindful about the corporate reputation and integrity of our country which is gradually drifting into total muddle. Hence, there is need for a special panel of investigation into this matter, and urgent action is not only desirable but is equally necessary.
“This growing degree of the culture of impunity if it is allowed to continue in our system will surely choke the practice to demand for accountability and transparency, two major best principles of democratic governance widely accepted world over. It is also rather unfortunate as some individuals would place themselves above the corridor of the rule of law, and refuse to recognise themselves as servants to the people, but rather choose to always behave as political dictators with total disregard to the plights of the majority, hence the need for a special panel of investigation into this matter, and this action is not only desirable but is equally necessary.”
It said in its proposed agenda setting for the advocated investigative panel or high powered committee, the terms of reference for the committee should include: Discreet probe on the actual release of the alleged funds and how much had so far been expended on the procurement of the military equipment.
“What was the percentage of the supply, the name of the company contracted for the supply of the arms, under which office was the contract executed, who signed the contract on behalf of the Federal Government, who received the supply of the ammunition on behalf of the Federal Government, and which year was the supply of the arms affected, and how much percentage left and what is the next expected consignment, and which quantity of the supplied arms were distributed to the military formations in Nigeria, and lastly the names of the military formations that received the arms and the ammunition?
“Your Excellency sir, The Nigerian citizens deserve an urgent response from your good office, by establishing a High Power Committee to effect a thorough investigation and presentation of comprehensive findings to the public regarding the procurement of the said arms.
“This measure we believe would help Nigerian citizens to find solace on the growing anxiety they have been going through, since the beginning of the enduring controversy,” the group further declared.
The group also expressed hope that the Nigerians shall receive a quick response to salvage the country from further shame and image damaging.