In an unprecedented development, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin a comprehensive investigation into the role played by several former and serving top military officers in the questionable expenditure of funds meant for the procurement of weapons and other equipment for Nigeria’s military.
A statement released today by a senior presidential aide, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the investigation would cover the period from 2007 to 2015. Mr. Buhari ordered the probe based on the recommendation of a committee that audited Nigeria’s defense budget from 2007.
Those whose roles are to be investigated in the sweeping investigation include such retired and serving officers as Air Chief Marshal A.S. Badeh, Air Marshal M.D. Umar, Air Marshal A.N. Amosu, Major-General E.R. Chioba, Air Vice-Marshal I.A. Balogun, Air Vice-Marshal A.G. Tsakr, Air Vice-Marshal A.G. Idowu, Air Vice-Marshal A.M. Mamu, Air Vice-Marshal O.T. Oguntoyinbo, Air Vice-Marshal T. Omenyi, Air Vice-Marshal J.B. Adigun, Air Commodores S.A. Yushau, A.O. Ogunjobi, and Lieutenant Colonel M.S. Dasuki.
Other targets of the investigation include Air Commodores G.M.D. Gwani, S.O. Makinde, and A.Y. Lassa.
The EFCC’s investigation is likely to uncover for the first time the nature and depth of the collusion between military officials, political officials and defense contractors in inflating defense contracts and procuring sometimes antiquated or ineffectual equipment.
Mr. Buhari wants the EFCC to uncover any shady procurement deals struck by the named officers and the directors of defense firms. The probe comes in the waking of revelations that former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, diverted more than $2 billion in arms procurement budget and distributed it to various political figures.
Some of the defense contractors and directors whose role will be investigated include Messrs Societe D’ Equipment Internationaux, Himma Aboubakar, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, Messrs Syrius Technologies, Theresa A. Ittu, Sky Experts Nigeria Ltd, Ifeanyi Tony Omenyi, Huzee Nigeria Ltd, and GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd. Other players include Gbujie Peter Obie, Onuri Samuel Ugochukwu, Spacewebs Interservices Ltd, Oguntoyinbo Tayo, Oguntoyinbo Funmi, Jacobs Bola, Mono Marine Corporation Nigeria Ltd, Geonel Integrated Services Ltd, Sachi Felicia, Mudaki Polycarp, Wolfgang Reinl, and Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd.
The EFCC would look at such breaches as “non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorized thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.” In addition, the agency would investigate the roles played by military officers and civilian contractors in other irregularities and fraud that characterized the procurement processes.
“In many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter insurgency efforts in the North East,” said Mr. Shehu’s statement. In the past, SaharaReporters had detailed complaints by soldiers deployed against Islamist terrorists, Boko Haram, about being sent to battle with inferior weaponry and even defective gear. One soldier revealed that bulletproof vests as well as helmets issued to officers were consistently defective.
Some soldiers also alleged that some rogue officers were cooperating with Islamic insurgents by giving them intelligence about troop movements. Some soldiers engaged in mutinies to protest being sent to battle to lose disastrously against Boko Haram.