Friday, March 12, 2021 4:03 pm
In a shocking move, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) the National Security Adviser on Friday blamed inability of the President Muhammadu Buhari to rout out bandits and terrorists involved in killings, kidnappings and other grievous crimes in different parts of the country on squandering of funds budgeted for arms by former Nigeria Service Chiefs.
The Service Chiefs which included the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar were replaced by President Muhammadu Buhari in January.
The President had appointed General Leo Irabor as the new Chief of Defence Staff; Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Read Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshal Isiaka O. Amao, Chief of Air Staff to replace them.
But the Senate has approved the ex-Service Chief for ambassadorial appointments following their nomination by President Buhari.
Monguno never enjoined a good working relationship with the former Service Chiefs though his office was supposed to play the role of coordinating their activities.
But speaking in a BBC Hausa service programme on why the Nigerian government has not been able to rein in bandits and kidnappers responsible for killings, kidnappings and destruction of livelihoods in various parts of the country, Monguno said it was because the arms that were supposed to be purchased by the immediate service chiefs were not available.
PRNigeria quoted Monguno as telling his interviewer that even the new Service Chiefs have confirmed that they could not find anything on the ground with regards to the arms purchased for the war against insecurity in the audio of the BBC interview translated from Hausa to English.
According to him, President Buhari provided enough resources for tackling insecurity in the country, but some of the setbacks could be blamed on the immediate service chiefs.
“It is not reluctance in handling the bandits, the President of the Federal Republic has done his utmost best by releasing huge funds for procurement of arms, but they were not purchased.
“We couldn’t see anything on ground. Now the President has brought in new hands who may have a different approach.
“I am not saying the former Service Chiefs embezzled the arms money, but it is a fact that money budgeted for that purpose has been misappropriated and no one can account for it,” said Monguno.
When asked if the misappropriation has been investigated, the NSA replied: “the President will surely investigate it. As I am talking to you, even the governors in their (Governors’) Forum have started complaining that billions of dollars have been allocated for security yet nothing on the ground. I can assure you that the President will not take this lightly.”
Further pressed on if the funds budgeted for arms purchase was embezzled by the former service chiefs, Monguno said, “I can’t say for now since it is subject to investigations which will reveal the facts of the matter, but it is certain that the money has been misappropriated and they cannot be accounted for and the new service chiefs have confirmed that they haven’t seen anything on ground to justify the allocated funds.
“Nothing is on the ground as I am speaking to you now.”
But he assured that the president is providing all the necessary supports and encouragements for the new service chiefs to ensure they succeed in tackling the myriads of insecurity in the country.