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Buhari’s Minister of Interior, Dambazau Indicted in Arms Scandal

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By Muyiwa Ogunleye

The Minister of Interior, Abdurrahman Bello Dambazau is among retired top army officers indicted in the probe of the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment in the military from 2007 to 2015.

Others indicted in the report of the Presidential Committee on Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces include the immediate past chief of army staff, Kenneth Minimah, and his predecessor, Azubuike Ihejirika.

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Dambazau, who was appointed the Chief of Army Staff by late President Umaru Yar’Adua, and served between 2008 and 2010, was accused of trying to suppress the content of the report of the committee.

The committee is set to submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari any moment from now, CityMirrorNews learnt.

Sources in the Presidency disclosed to CityMirrorNews on Saturday in Abuja that there is tension and frantic scheming among former army chiefs and other top officers of the Nigerian Army as the committee concludes its task and is set to submit its report to President.

According to the sources, several top retired army officers were indicted and some were already scheming to suppress the content of the report.

“The committee members are putting things together and will present its findings to the president in the next fews days.

Our source explained that the committee uncovered a whole lot of things including the outright stealing of money meant for equipment for the army, inflation of contract, diversion of money for soldiers’ welfare, money for the rehabilitation of barracks and military facilities and many other corrupt practices.

In March 2016, the committee, predominantly made up of retired military officers, had summoned 292 retired and serving top army officers including Messrs. Dambazau, Ihejirika and Minimah.

Last August, Mr. Buhari directed the national security adviser, Mohammed Mongonu, to set up a 13-member investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces from 2007.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, stated that the investigative committee’s mandate is to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the armed forces.

The establishment of the investigative committee was in keeping with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service, Mr. Adesina said.

“It comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects of troops’ morale.

“The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations, which, very often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment,” the statement said.

 

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