Reps To Army Chief - 'Come Explain How Military Weapons Got To Bandits' - IReporteronline
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Reps To Army Chief – ‘Come Explain How Military Weapons Got To Bandits’

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The House of Representatives on Friday said the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru should appear
before it to explain how weapons bought for the Nigerian Army ended up in the hands of bandits.

The House also on  Friday expressed grave concern over allegations made by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General  Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd), that the former Service Chiefs could not account for billions of naira voted for the purchase of arms for the fight against insurgency and armed banditry. The National Security Adviser who spoke in a  BBC Hausa programme was quoted to have alleged that the new military chiefs had not seen any evidence of arms procurement in their records and hand-over notes on the assumption of office.

The Ad-hoc Committee set up by the House to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, chaired by Hon. Olaide Akinremi resolved to invite the Chief of Army Staff, to appear in person to respond to allegations bothering on  how weapons purchased for the military and police ended up in the hands of bandits and miscreants.

Hon. Akinremi who issued the  notice after the closed door session with representatives of the Chief of Army  Staff led by Major General C. Ofuche which lasted for 15 minutes, also stressed the need for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin  Emefiele to appear before the Committee. Hon. Akinremi who observed that both arms of Government are working  toward achieving one goal, “it’s for the purpose of one goal, the betterment of Nigeria.

“Before I give you the floor, you  may be aware of news going round I got that as breaking news this morning also, it says, it seems the money  released to  former Service Reps to Army Chief: Come explain how military weapons got to bandits Chiefs by President  Muhammad Buhari to buy weapons  to fight terrorism, banditry and kidnapping is missing. “Because the new Service Chiefs have  confirmed to us, that they didn’t see where the new weapons were purchased in their handing over. “Apparently, the  money is missing.

And the money in question is in trillions of naira. And we must investigate. So with all of these going  on, coupled with international interest especially, the Nigerians we represent, they are all watching. So we need to  handle this issue with care.  We all agree that it is very very sensitive,” he observed. Other lawmakers, who expressed concern over the breach of extant regulations,  underscored the need to examine the level of compliance with extant provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

Speaking on the extant provisions of the section 88 of the  1999  Constitution (as amended), Hon. Ifeanyi Momah who raised a Point of Order said: “I don’t think the representatives  of  the Chief of Army Staff can be held culpable or liable for any remarks made here because it is assumed that any  remarks  that is made is mad by the Chief of Army Staff. So if he’s not the one making the remarks it’s very easy for him  to actually engage in culpable  deniability because he’s not the one making the remarks.”

In his intervention, Hon.  Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu  who noted that the Ad-hoc committee was not witchhunt anybody, stressed the  need for  the accounting officer of the Nigerian Army to appear in person to explain how weapons bought for the military and  police ended up in the hands of bandits.

“For the chairman and secretariat there is no communication before that the  Chief of Army Staff is having another schedule that may not allow him to be physically present here. That is a  contravention to section 88, section 89 subsection 1, and of course section one of the Armed Forces Act 1994. So we   re not witch-hunting but telling you what the law says.

“In line with the position of the previous speakers, I want  to  reiterate that this is a very serious and sensitive security matter. At least let us see the man, being that this is the first meeting with the Nigerian  Army, the accounting officer of the Army should have appeared to give us his account, his  position as far as the communications ade to him.

“Basically, we are detailed not to be friendly, but to work  to find fault.  ou can bear witness to the fact that Nigeria is now embroiled in serious security issues and yearin- year-out,  appropriations were made and huge sums expended on procurement of arms and ammunitions and yet with most of the  arrests made, you find these arms and ammunition with some of these bandits and miscreants.

“Some of them can  e  traced back to the very military or  police. It is a serious issue andthe National Assembly is well positioned to dig deep  into the root of this issue and find solutions. As moved by my  colleague, there is the need  for a motion to allow the  Chief  of Army Staff come and make his submissions personally to this committee.”

In his remarks, however,  Major  General C. Ofuche who apologized on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, said: “He should have been here today and all indication to that was already in motion, but for several trips. If you watched the TV, he was in Ibadan and Enugu yesterday all for the same security needs.

“The country is embroiled in a lot of crises so they are moving around and he thought he could make it down here this morning for this meeting. And so the notice was quite short for me to come and represent him because he would have loved to do it personally and that is why there is no written note,” he said.  After the brief remarks, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to a closed-door session which lasted for about  15  minutes. While giving an update on the outcome of the closed-door meeting, Hon. Akinremi explained that the Committee will communicate the next legislative hearing to the public.

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Okorocha Speaks On His EFCC Arrest

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A former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has insisted he was merely invited and not arrested by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

EFCC Head of Media, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed Okorocha was picked up from his private office.

However, Okorocha in a statement signed by his spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, stated that the EFCC facility is not “a slaughterhouse” and was only investigating his activities while he was Governor, following several petitions written against him.

The statement read, “We have been inundated with calls by media houses and concerned Nigerians and beyond, trying to confirm the reported invitation of Senator Rochas Okorocha by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, later today, being April 13, 2021.

“The truth is that Okorocha left as the governor of Imo State on May 28, 2019. And shortly after his exit as governor, Imo State Government wrote petitions upon petitions against him.

“The EFCC investigated the petitions and has been in various courts of the land with Okorocha to that effect.

“And if the EFCC has decided to invite Okorocha for clarifications on the matters already in courts, especially with a new Chairman at the helm of affairs at the Commission, there is nothing wrong with that.

“The matters between EFCC and Okorocha over his governorship in Imo have been pendent in various courts of the land.

“At the end of the day, we would know whether the Commission will be withdrawing the cases in courts, or would continue with the cases already in courts.

“But to us, the Commission is doing its job and should be given the needed cooperation. And Okorocha being a law-abiding citizen, would always cooperate with the Commission over the matters in courts. EFCC is not a slaughterhouse, but a very responsible institution and should be seen as such.

“We have no reason to complain about the invitation of today, which Okorocha honoured as a patriotic and responsible Nigerian.

“As we stated earlier, the Commission didn’t invite Okorocha today, for the first time.”

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Court Reinstates Edo Commission Sacked By Oshiomhole 13 Years Ago

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The Court of Appeal, Benin Division, on Tuesday, set aside the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission for the past 13 years over failure to follow due process.

The commission was dissolved in 2008 by the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

In a unanimous‎ judgment, the court ordered that the commission’s members be reinstated and be allowed to complete their tenure, which should now run from March 25, 2021, to August 25, 2025.

In the judgment delivered by a three-person panel and read by Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill, with justices Oyebisi Omoleye and Fredrick Oho as members, the appellate court held that Mr Oshiomhole’s government did not follow the laid-down procedure in dissolving the commission.

In the suit (No B/375/OS/2009), the appellants were Jonathan Aghimien (SAN), T. E. Ogbeide-Ihama, and Edward Aigbanbe, while the Edo governor, the attorney general, and the House of Assembly were the respondents.

The appellants challenged the ruling of Justice Nogi Aifuwa Imoukhuede of the state’s high court, which dismissed the appellants’ claims for being statute-barred.

In his ruling, Mr Georgewill declared that “the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission and consequent termination of the appointments of the Appellants on 24/11/2008, without due compliance with the provisions of the Revised Edition Law of Edo state 2001, by the 1st Respondent, the then Executive Governor of Edo state is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

The court set aside the letter issued by the then-Secretary to State Government on behalf of the governor, saying it was issued without compliance with the Revised Edition Law of Edo State 2001.

He said, “An order is hereby given reinstating the appellants to their aforesaid position as Chairman and members of the Edo State Law Review Commission to serve out the remainder of their five-year tenure.”

He added, “Thereafter from the date of this judgment being 25/3/2021 to 25/8/2025 totalling five years in line with Section 7 (1) of the Revised Edition Law 2001 of Edo state, excluding the period from 24/11/2008 to 25/3/2021, unless the appellants are removed in line with the provision of the Revised Edition law of Edo State of Nigeria 2001.”

(NAN)

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Some Of IPOB’s Grievances Are Valid. They Should Be Addressed Squarely – Gov Ikpeazu

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The governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu, says some of the grievances of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) are valid and need to be addressed squarely.

Some of IPOB?s grievances are valid. They should be addressed squarely - Gov Ikpeazu

The group has over the years accused successive Nigerian governments of marginalizing the South East region and have called for the creation of the Biafran nation.

 

Speaking on Arise TV on Tuesday, April 12, Ikpeazu said some of the “issues raised” by IPOB should be addressed as they are valid.

 

In his words

 

“I have taken my time to listen to some of these issues raised by IPOB: issues about injustice, issues of marginalisation, issues of trust deficits within the polity called Nigeria as it concerns people from south-eastern Nigeria. And I think some of those are valid issues and they should be addressed and spoken to. They should be addressed squarely. So that everybody and those of us that are in government today can have a foothold within the southeast region to continue to promote the unity of Nigeria.

I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB in pursuing their goals. And the reason is because I’m yet to see the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing and I do not like to take a plunge in the dark. We must engage and discuss the issue which is bothering them and everybody and we can’t continue to pretend as if these issues are not valid.

Equal rights and justice is an indelible right of all citizens and if through impunity and carelessness we allow a group of people to begin to feel like they’re not rightly represented within the polity, it creates a lacuna where people are no longer confident in the government to protect them and take care of their interest within the polity. There’s bound to be agitation one way or another. Some of these reactions may extrapolate to levels that may undermine national convention and unity.”

 

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