OrderPaperToday – Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai has given reason why the probe of arms purchase in the last dispensation may not achieve much.
Buratai while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Army on Wednesday said the retirement of officers involved in the procurement was a constraint.
He told the committee that “all the Service chiefs and those involved in the procurement are retired, so we are limited on the extent we can investigate them.”
Buratai also complained that the sum of N139 billion approved by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning for the Nigerian Army was inadequate compared with the sum of N520 billion requested.
According to the Army Chief, “If we can get N520 billion today, you can be sure of getting highly motivated troops that their families are being taking care of.”
Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser is currently facing corruption charges before Federal High Court and Abuja High Court respectively over the arms purchase scandal.
Also former service chiefs including Chief of Defence Staff, Badeh and Chief of Air Staff, Amosun are some past officials already questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the scandal.
But in response to Buratai’s statement, Rima Shawulu, chairman of the Committee said parliament has the constitutional powers to probe any issue whether the officials involved have retired or not.
He also said “the controversies over the purchase of arms and ammunitions or alleged purchase of inferior or substandard arms call for an urgent review of our processes.
The committee chairman expressed concerns about the sorry state of facilities in the 30 military formations and barracks visited recently during a familiarisation tour conducted by the committee.
The Committee however queried the delay in the release of the Supplementary budget of N3,196,089,405 for salaries of Nigerian Army personnel including N1,987,056,478 for 72 recruitments, N768,637,124 for 62 regular combatant and N440,395,803 for 22 direct short service.
He said: “In all, we visited and related with officers in about 30 formations in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The findings are sobering and a rethinking of the way we do things.
“It is sobering that the officers and men who have dedicated their lives to fighting to keep us safe,live in such scandalous accommodation. It is also shocking that the decay and rot in the system has been left unchecked and our soldiers fighting without required equipment.
The lawmakers also queried the sum of N6 billion paid out of the N7 billion for the construction of Vice President’s residence without commensurate results last year and stressed the need for adequate budgetary provision for the 117 barracks rehabilitation across the country.