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Presidential Panel on Arms’ Purchase May Seek Deadline Extension


The committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the procurement of hardware and ammunition for the military from 2007 to date, may seek an extension for its deadline to enable it to do a proper job, Daily Sun has learnt.

The committee, which meets at the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), sits at 9 am daily and closes at 7 pm. The committee has so far achieved tremendous results but may have to seek for an extension up to January, 2016, to complete its report and submit same to the President.

Military sources said the Air Vice Marshall Jon Ode-led Committee was able to unravel some dubious deals perpetrated by some past service chiefs, former defence ministers and ministers of state and past NSAs among other top military officers and civilians in the illegal purchase of arms running into billions of naira.

A top security officer, who would not want to be mentioned, confided that most of those that needed to be questioned had been grilled and made useful information and revelations. The source, however, pointed out that most of them were also found to have soiled their hands. It was discovered that the bulk of arms and ammunition purchased by the previous administration for the counter-insurgency war in the North-East was hugely carried out outside the military. It said while some past service chiefs also engaged in the direct purchase of weapons, majority of the procurement was carried out by another agency for reasons best known to them. It was discovered that the committee, which has November 30 as deadline to submit its report to the President, may not be able to meet the deadline because of the sensitive nature of their assignment which involves a lot of investigation. The source, however, pointed out that so far, the committee has gathered enough evidence and some exhibits to nail some perpetrators, but still needed more time to get more.

Not more than 19 former defence and services chiefs are expected to appear before the panel which commenced sitting on August, 31, 2015. The committee was, among others, set up to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.

Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had while announcing the setting up of the committee, said it will investigate allegations of non-adherence 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. Adesina, in a statement, said: “It comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of the on-going counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, including the apparent deficit in mili­tary platforms with its attendant negative effects on troops’ morale”.

Culled from sunnewsonline.com


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