Sunday, 13 Dec 2015.
Following revelations of massive looting of security votes in the Office of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, (retd), prominent lawyers, retired army officer and civil society groups have said that culprits in the scam should be tried for genocide and crime against humanity.
This is coming on the heels of rebuttals by many prominent Nigerians who allegedly benefitted from the disbursement of the $2.1billion and over N600billion in local currency. Former President of the Senate, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, in his reaction, said that he does not deal in arms procurement and would not have collected money from the Federal Government to buy military weapons and equipment.
Senator Ayu has been reported to have collected the sum of N345million from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA). Similarly, former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who was mentioned by Ibrahim Wambai, the Principal Account Officer II in the former NSA’s office, as having received monthly allowance from him, said that he would not speak on the issue for now.
Ayu said in Abuja that any funds from the office of the NSA, remitted to Starbriid Limited, a company which he confirmed his interest in, were solely for the provision of consultancy services on security and electoral matters.
A report by one of the national newspapers indicated that one of the 19 charges brought against Dasuki by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were that he approved the transfer of “an aggregate sum of N345million, being part of the funds in the account of the ONSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the account of Starbriid Limited.”
Wambai has said in his statement at the EFCC that in December 2014, he made cash payment of N4million to Col. Madaki(retd) in his residence in Wuse II Abuja, and “many cash payments to Doyin Okupe, Ahmad Idris (PA to ex-NSA), ADC to former First Lady Patience Jonathan as payments for monthly operation allowances.”
He also spoke of other cash payments to former Deputy Chief of Staff; ADC to former President, his Chief Personal physician, former coordinator on antiterrorism, Gen. Sarkin Yaki; former Director PC4, Gen. Terba Waya (rtd); Personal Assistant, Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Earlier, there were also alleged payments to a certain firms and individuals including Acacia Limited in the sum of N1.45billion, N2.1billion to former Chairman of Daar Communication, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, now standing trial and N670 to the Publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Chief Nduka Obaigbena.
Senator Ayu said neither Starbriid nor himself deals in satellites and security equipment as being alleged by the report which quoted the EFCC. He said: “To the best of my knowledge, neither the company nor I deal in satellites and security equipment. Any funds remitted to the company were for consultancies on security related and electoral matters.”
The former President of the Senate further explained that he was approached at some point by the former NSA to provide requisite advice and consultancy on difficult issues.
“When Colonel Sambo Dasuki assumed duty in June 2012, he approached me to assist based on my background as a social scientist, and my previous involvement in government. “Understandably, I provided the requisite advice whenever consulted on difficult issues. It is also public knowledge that I have considerable knowledge of Nigerian politics and skills about competitive political organisation,” he stressed. Ayu said that he was proud of his unblemished service to Nigeria in the various capacities he served the country.
“If I didn’t deem it necessary to abuse such public trust, there is no justification for jettisoning my fundamental beliefs after 10 years in private life,” he added. Meanwhile, lawyers and anti-corruption group, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), have called on the Federal Government to ensure that anyone who is culpable in the on-going investigations and prosecution is brought to book.
Chief Fred Agbaje, in his reaction, described the alleged embezzlement of security votes as “morally scandalous, coming at a time soldiers are dying in droves for lack of weapons to prosecute the war on terror and millions of Nigerians have become internally displaced persons in their own country.” “The EFCC should do a thorough investigation on the suspects to ensure diligent prosecution of culprits so that the cases would not be thrown out of court for want of evidence.
Beyond the legal sanctions which they may face in Nigeria, they must be charged before International Court of Justice for genocide and crimes against humanity,” Agbaje said.
A former Provost Marshal of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General Idada Ikponmwen (retd), also endorsed the ongoing investigation Ikponmwen said that President Buhari and the various anti- corruption agencies were right on track and that the current revelations have vindicated those who raised the alarm earlier on that something had gone amiss within the Nigeria Army.
The general, who once served as the Director of Legal Services in the Nigeria Arm, reiterated his call on the military high command not to punish those officers accused of abandoning the war front, because they were poorly equipped .
Speaking in Lagos, CACOL’s chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran, urged President Buhari to pursue his anti-corruption crusade with all his vigour and ensure that those looting public treasury and Nigerians common patrimony are exposed and adequately punished.
“CACOL hereby calls on the Federal Government to ensure that those who stole the $2.1billion meant for the procurement of arms are brought to book, tried and charged for mass murder.
They should be punished for misleading Nigerians into internecine warfare,” he said. Similarly, the Controller- General of Citizen Anti- Corruption Volunteer Corp (CACVC), Comrade Harris Chuma, implored the federal and state governments to promote highest levels of transparency, accountability, integrity and public participation in government.
He also charged Nigerians not to be partisan with the ongoing anti-corruption war embarked upon by the incumbent administration, adding that all corrupt public office holders should be brought to book if found guilty of corrupt practices.
Source: New Telegraph.