Where Are The Arms We Bought With $1bn? Wike Asks …
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has asked the Federal Government to tell Nigerians about the whereabouts of the $1 billion that was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to purchase arms for the fight against insecurity.
Wike, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Newsnight’ on Monday evening, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to hold officials accountable for their actions.
On December 15, 2017, the National Executive Council agreed to utilize $1 billion from the excess crude oil account of Nigeria to tackle Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges.
The meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with the 36 state governors in attendance and it came as the state governors pledged to support the Federal Government to rid the North East of the insurgents.
Four years after, many Nigerians have raised several questions in relation to the whereabouts of the arms meant to be purchased with the fund.
On Monday, Governor Wike also asked questions regarding the purchase of the equipment, especially as insecurity has worsened since then.
“I remember there was a time when $1 billion was taken from the Excess Crude Account to provide for security. Where is the equipment that we bought,” Wike questioned?
“If I should release that money as the Chief Security Officer, knowing how Nigeria is, I will make sure that those weapons and the right ones were bought.”
The Rivers State Governor also reacted to the House of Representatives’ decision to summon the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over the arms’ procurement.
He then faulted the response of the army chief over the arms purchase during his appearance before the lower chamber.
Wike added, “I was surprised when I was watching the television when the House of Representatives invited the Chief of Army Staff about the purchase of weapons and he said ‘look, you know the right people to ask.
“You have to take leadership. Even if those who were at the helms of affairs of security, the onus is on you, you can still summon them back.”
The governor’s comment came three weeks after a tension ensued between the House ad-hoc committee on arms and ammunition, and the COAS, following the investigation into the arms purchase by the military.
Things took a different turn when the Chief of Army Staff, refused to further speak on the document which he had presented to the committee, asking the committee instead to review the documents, which he said was self-explanatory.
Attahiru insisted that he had barely settled into office and is definitely not the right person to speak on arms and ammunition purchased by his predecessors.
“Issues of arms procurement that you so demand to know were done by specific individuals, I will rather you call these individuals to explain to you very specific issues the general explanation is contained in this report,” the COAS told the lawmakers.
He added, “The submission before you speaks to the report before you. It is an executive summary. It is very self-explanatory to the extent that it has been pluralized. When you demanded this report, you stated a specific period for which you wanted it.
“You may wish to recall that the Chief of Army Staff took over the mantle of leadership barely two months ago.
“The period for which you want this report having been summarised in the executive summary explained whatever details you require.”