The House of Representatives committee led by Olaide Akinremi after two months has refused to summon the former service chiefs under whose command $1 billion Excess Crude Account Fund was spent on arms to tackle insecurity in the country.
SaharaReporters learnt that the House of Reps committee appeared to have been muzzled by influences within and outside the legislature to mellow down on the probe of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.), and former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.) especially.
“Nothing has happened for two months. The committee has not yet summoned Buratai and others. They appear not to have the balls, because the body language of the authorities is that the former military chiefs served well and even got ambassadorial positions. They are waiting for the former service chiefs to go for their postings so that they can find an excuse that the ex-generals are no longer within the country,” a source said.
“It is clear that they are not ready to invite the former service chiefs. The late army chief (Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru) told them the truth but they were not ready to work on it. The late army chief was ready to expose all he knew about the $1 billion arms fund. Part of the money also reportedly went to some National Assembly members,” another source said.
On May 6, SaharaReporters reported that the House of Representatives had stopped investigations into the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware.
The ad hoc committee had at its last public sitting given the late former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, some time to go back and prepare a comprehensive position for presentation.
It also asked the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to do the same and report back.
SaharaReporters had on April 14 reported that Attahiru had asked the House of Representatives committee investigating the $1 billion Excess Crude Account fund meant for the purchase of arms to ask “the specific individuals” how the money was spent as he assumed office only two months earlier.
Appearing before the Olaide Akinremi-led House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the matter in Abuja, the late COAS had said it behoved on the lawmakers to ask the individuals involved in the deals to account for the funds budgeted for procurement of weapons over the years.
“You may wish to recall that I took over the mantle of leadership barely two months ago. The period from which you wanted this report, having been summarised in the executive summary, explains whatever details you will require; issues of procurement that you so demand to know were done by specific individuals.
“I will rather you call these individuals to come and explain to you very specific issues. The general issue has been contained in the report and the summary. It goes to speak about the entire report and it explains it,” he had said.
However, the committee was part of the 12 committees whose assignment was discharged by the House at yesterday’s plenary in accordance with Order Eighteen, Rule 3 (1) (g) of the Standing Order of the House, as they had failed to submit its report within the stipulated time.
SaharaReporters had on March 16 exposed that the $1 billion set aside by President Muhammadu Buhari from the ECA to buy military ammunition was actually released to the military, and shared among the air force, the army and the navy under the immediate past service chiefs.
SaharaReporters learnt that the $1 billion release, which was greeted with widespread criticisms when President Buhari announced so in April 2018, was approved by the National Assembly and shared to the military arms in 2019 without public knowledge to avoid more criticisms.