Emefiele, Army Chief Face Reps Monday Over Arms Funds

The House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria is now to grill the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday.

The committee had on March 22, 2021, summoned them to appear before it on Wednesday. However, while the Meeting Room 144 venue of the committee’s investigative hearing had been prepared for the meeting and journalists invited to cover the event, both the lawmakers and those summoned did not show up.

Chairman of the committee, Mr Olaide Akinremi, after a long wait later told journalists on the telephone that the hearing had been postponed till Monday.

An official attached to the committee also told journalists that Akinremi earlier met with representatives of the COAS and was billed to address journalists after the closed-door meeting.

On March 22, the committee had expressed its displeasure with the non-appearance by heads of Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies as well as military and paramilitary agencies billed to appear before it.

Those who were expected to appear before the lawmakers were the ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Defence and Interior; Central Bank of Nigeria, Bureau of Public Procurement; and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

A week earlier, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), had alleged that $1bn funds meant to purchase arms to tackle insurgency during the ex-service chiefs’ tenure got missing, a statement that generated controversy.

Monguno, had in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation early that Friday, alleged that neither the funds nor the weapons the ex-service chiefs were meant to buy could be traced.

The NSA added that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum was also wondering where all the funds meant for arms went. According to him, the president will soon order a probe into the matter.

However, in a statement by his office later on Friday, Monguno recanted his earlier allegations, saying he was quoted out of context.

While he admitted granting the BBC interview under reference, he denied saying funds meant for the purchase of arms had gone missing. The committee had consequently resolved to investigate the matter.

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