The Conscience for New Nigeria (CNN) has called on the Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) to fully disclose how $1billion earmarked by President Muhammadu Buhari for the purchase of arms was expended.
The civil society organisation made this demand in an open letter to the minister on Saturday titled ‘$1billion arms fund controversy: Nigerians demand full disclosure! An open letter’.
The CSO said this has become paramount to address some of the allegations raised by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) last month.
In the letter signed by Akinwunmi Daniel, the group said despite Monguno’s retraction, the president’s integrity and that of his immediate past service chiefs are in the line.
Daniel said, hence, Magashi must come out clear and clean on the issue to put an end to the sensational controversies trailing the use of the funds.
According to him, failure to comply would amount to “your implied complicity in the arms fund’s diversion controversy, a disservice to the nation and a mockery of President Buhari’s anti-corruption campaigns”.
The group further said Nigerians and the world at large awaits Magashi’s exposure and this should be done forthwith.
The letter reads in part: “The CNN is extremely concerned and indeed, displeased with the sudden muting of this serious allegation by Gen. Monguno, without any explanation from your Ministry. And since Monguno’s allegations sparked national outrage, Nigerians asking serious questions, including questioning the integrity of President Buhari and his anti-corruption campaigns.
“We are compelled at this auspicious time to demand from you to break the incubated silence on the sensitive national matter. CNN believes issues of national security are not only sensitive but explosive. Therefore, we cannot condone any act of sabotage, complacence or frustration of Mr President’s determination to blight the fires of terrorism, banditry and other insecurities in the country.
“It is in this regard that CNN demands from you full disclosure on the allegations raised by the NSA, Gen. Monguno (rtd) against the ex-Service Chiefs. Please, let Nigerians know what transpired exactly, at least an innocent person is crucified.
“We want to make it clear to you, Hon. Minister, that your suspicious silence on this controversy is not golden as Nigerians are aware, the Ministry of Defence received the money after it was approved and released by Mr President. There was no time the shadows of former Service Chiefs were directly traced to arms procurement contracts of the Ministry of Defence or the Federal Government for the Nigerian Military.
“CNN is consequently, pleading with you for once, to show leadership or act in good conscience and public accountability ethos by making full disclosures on the spending of $1 billion arms procurement funds.”