…procurement procedures, contract awards must be scrutinised
…office of the NSA, ex- and current Service Chiefs must give account
A coalition of 200 has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and other relevant law enforcement agencies to, as a matter of urgency, undertake a comprehensive investigation of Defence Budgets between 2015, to 2022.
Specifically, the coalition wants the focus to be on procurement processes, contract awards, as well as the welfare of personnel and staff.
The anticipated probe, the group added, must include the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), as well as all former and current Service Chiefs within the period under review.
The coalition, which operates under the auspices of the National Coalition of Civil Society for Peace and Security, predicated its demand on the growing insecurity in the country, occasioned by insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other violent tendencies threatening national security and peace despite the huge sums of money allocated to intelligence and security agencies.
In a statement jointly signed by Dr Umar Abdulkadir (National President), and Dr Gbenga Oshinowo (National Secretary), the group commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the huge budgetary allocations he has made available to the defence and security sector, in the last seven years.
According to the statement, the development was indicative of the commitment of the President toward a secure and orderly society, where investment opportunities will thrive.
“Unfortunately, there have been no corresponding results to justify the huge investments in the critical defence and security sector, which run into trillions of Naira, in the last seven years.
“These investments, to all intent and purpose, are a demonstration of our dear President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic, Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the security and safety of Nigerians”, the group said.
The coalition said the probe has become imperative, in view of the fact that President Buhari will be exiting office on May 29, 2023, and the compelling need for the world to know the truth surrounding the trillions of Naira allocated for defence and security.
The statement reads in full: “We rise as a coalition of over 200 civil society groups, to task all anti-graft and law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to launch a thorough investigation into the nation’s defence and security budgets, in the last seven years.
“Our demand stems from the strong belief that so much investments have been made by way of budgetary interventions in the defence and security sector, but very little results are out there for the public to see and feel.
“Our expectations are that the anti-graft agencies will beam their searchlights on procurement processes, contract awards, personnel cost and other sundry budgetary considerations.
“The scrutiny, in our estimation, must be extended to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and the tenures of past and serving Service Chiefs that served during the period of probe we are proposing.
“It is our considered view that so little has come out of the huge investments made in the critical sector, hence the urgent need for a comprehensive and thorough examination of records of procurements, and others.
“This is with a view to making people to account for acts of misappropriation and misapplication of public funds, where infractions result.
“Among other things, it will help to situate issues in proper perspective, vindicate President Buhari, and pave the way for his positive placement in the annals of history and posterity”.