SaharaReporters has uncovered how Nigeria’s Ministry of Defence budgeted and received $1.3m for the payment of the United Nations 2019 Biological Weapons Convention instead of the $3,197 the country was billed.
When converted to naira, the amount billed to Nigeria is N1,150,920 using the 2019 average exchange rate of N360 per dollar.
The money was for the cost of the meeting of the convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction (BWC).
The fund was inserted into the 2019 budget of the Ministry of Defence Headquarters with code ERGP14129149.
Investigation by SaharaReporters revealed that not only was the contribution billed by Nigeria over-bloated, it was also hijacked by the Defence Ministry from the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
To restate its commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Nigeria established the National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention and was placed under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In October 2003, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation approved that the Secretary, National Authority on CWC, should take on the additional responsibility of the implementation of the Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in Nigeria.
Since then, the implementation of the CWC and BTWC are supervised by the secretariat now designated as the National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions (NAC and BWC).
The Ministry of Defence (Defence Headquarters) is one of the 36 members of the inter-ministerial committee on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.
Prior to 2019, Nigeria had not been paying the annual BWC contribution by member states.
However, the payment, which was facilitated by the Nigerian military from 2019, was used as a conduit for siphoning hundreds of millions of naira.
According to documents from the United Nations, Nigeria was billed to pay a total of $21,834.54 (N7,860,434.4) for BWC, Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and Anti Personnel Landmine Convention (APLC) for 2013 and before to 2018 and $8,919.40 (N3,210,984) for 2019.
In a breakdown of the BWC, Nigeria was billed to pay $3,197 in 2018 as well as $3.197 in 2019.
In the 2019 budget of Nigeria, a whooping $1.3m was budgeted for the payment of “Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) In 2019”.