The Presidential Committee set up to investigate the procurement of arms and ammunition by the military from 2007 till date yesterday held its preliminary session in Abuja.
The 13-member committee met behind closed doors at the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) located within the Three Arms Zone in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Although the meeting was not open to media coverage for security reasons, a military source said what took place yesterday was a preliminary brief session.
It was gathered that the session “considered in general terms some memoranda and other documentary evidence” that may help it establish whether funds appropriated for the defence sector have been judiciously utilised and in line with the annual budgets in the last few years. “You know this is a highly sensitive investigation and it is not open to the media for obvious reasons.
But all I can tell you is that the committee held a preliminary meeting to define the scope of its assignment and take it from there,” the source said. President Muhammadu Buhari had last month directed the NSA to convene an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces in the past eight years.
The committee’s mandate, according to the Presidency, was to review the various transactions in the procurement of military hardwares, ascertain if there were irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining such procurement processes in the future.
The Presidential Committee is headed by AVM J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) who serves as its President while Brig.-Gen. Y.I. Shalangwa is the Secretary. Other members included R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.), R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.), Brig.-Gen. L. Adekagun (rtd.), Brig.-Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.), Brig.-Gen. N. Rimtip (rtd.), Cdre T.D. Ikoli, Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.), Air Cdre I. Shafi’i, Col A.A. Ariyibi, Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.) and Mr. Ibrahim Magu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The establishment of the investigative panel was in line with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in the military particularly given the series of challenges that the Armed Forces had faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North- Eastern flanks of the country.
The committee will specifically investigate allegations of nonadherence 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.