President Tackles PDP Over $1bn Defence Spending Allegation
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Presidency said on Sunday that the opposition-Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was in a state of “socio-emotional distress” over its call on the Federal government to account for the $1bn withdrawals from the Excess Crude Account(ECA) for purchase of military hardwares.
In a prompt response to allegations by the PDP, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Sunday, described the allegation by the opposition party as laughable.
He said: “the PDP “thinks that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own.
“Here is what happened to that USD1 billion.
“It’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about USD 490 million for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with government of the United States.
“Various other military procurements have been made. Balance of expenditure stands at about USD 880 million or so.
Barring considerations of national security, the details of the stage of implementation, the procurements made and the suppliers will be obtained and if your story can wait until tomorrow Monday, a work day, we can give you more or all of the details.
“The PDP spent Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court. That is not to say every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same,” the presidency added.
The Peoples Democratic Party had on Sunday expressed shock at the alleged confession by the National Security Adviser, NSA, Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd), that he is not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1bn drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency in 2017 for security purposes. National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan on Sunday said that “the confession by the NSA, who coordinates the security architecture of the nation, directly places a huge burden on President Buhari’s doorsteps over reported stealing and diversion of funds meant for security, while insurgency, banditry, killings and kidnapping fester in the land under his watch.
“The revelation by NSA further vindicates the PDP on our initial alarm that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration is overtly corrupt, deceptive and unreliable in the handling the affairs of our nation.
“It further validates the stance of the PDP that agents of the Presidency and the APC were hiding under the guise of security to siphon the $1bn from the ECA. “This, peharps, informed the desperation by the cabal to draw from the account without recourse to statutory due process of appropriation by the National Assembly. “From Gen. Mongunu’s confession, Nigerians can further see why our nation is daily confronted with disturbing videos and reports of our fighting troops protesting their neglect and inadequate equipping, leading to their vulnerability in the fronts.
“Now that the NSA has declared that he is not aware of the whereabouts of funds, the burden, straightaway, lies squarely on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately address the nation on how the money was handled,” the PDP alleged.
Army to Review Troops’ Conduct During Elections, other Operations
The Nigerian Army is set to review the conduct of troops in Operation Safe Conduct during the just concluded 2023 general elections across the country.
The review is expected to take place during the forthcoming Chief of Army Staff First Quarter 2023 Conference.
This is contained in a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, on Thursday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, would interact with the General Officers Commanding (GOC), field commanders and other senior officers.
He said that the interaction would help to provide possible guidance towards enhancing army operations and other activities.
He said the conference, which would hold from April 3 to April 6 would offer an avenue for reappraisal of the administrative affairs of the Nigerian army.
He added that it would also help in evaluation and comprehensive review of ongoing operational engagements within the first quarter.
According to him, this will provide the army an in-depth insight to enable far reaching decisions towards achieving its set objective of addressing the multifaceted security challenges confronting the country.
Nwachukwu said that the COAS would present a new Toyota Hilux vehicles each to 14 Army Warrant Officers who had attained the peak of their soldiering career.
“Similarly, the COAS will commission the newly constructed Faruk Yahaya Historical Park located at Asokoro Abuja.
“The conference will also showcase some research and development effort of the Nigerian Army in an exhibition.
“The three days conference promises to be very eventful, as it will witness a review of the conduct of troops during the recently concluded Operation SAFE CONDUCT 2023 and other operations across the country,” he said.
Nwachukwu reaffirmed the commitment and resolve of the Nigerian army to discharging its constitutional mandate professionally.
“We will also be resolute in upholding our values of courage, selfless sacrifice, respect, discipline and unalloyed loyalty to constituted authority,” he added. (NAN)
Buhari Pleased with Troops` Performance in North East – Gen. Irabor
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says that President Muhammadu Buhari is happy with the troops performance in the fight against insurgents in the North East.
Irabor stated this on Thursday in Maiduguri while addressing troops at the headquarters of the Joint Task Force, North East Operation Hadin Kai.
“The Commander in Chief is happy with you and has asked me to relay to you to keep up the standard and momentum that you are displaying in the north east operation,” Irabor said.
The CDS also lauded the successes being recorded by the troops, adding that it was based on their sense of patriotism and resilience.
He said that the troops` performance showed the true manifestation of the training provided to them.
Irabor said that commanders in the theatre were putting final touches for more onslaughts on remnants of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
“You must ensure that the criminals wherever they are hiding you smoke them out
“I know that you will do that, very soon we will be back to celebrate together,” Irabor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CDS also held a meeting with the Theatre Commander, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, GOC 7 Division, Maj. Gen. Waidi Shuaibu and other operational commanders.
He also interacted with wounded soldiers at the military hospital in Maimalari Cantonment. (NAN)
Former CGS, Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya dies at 79
Former Chief of General Staff under Gen. Sani Abacha’s government, retired Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya(GCON), is dead.
The former military governor of Ogun died at the age of 79.
His death was announced on Sunday in a statement by his son, Oyesinmilola Diya.
It read, “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather and brother, Lt- Gen.Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd).
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of March 26, 2023.Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period.
Further announcements will be made public in due course,” he said.(NAN)
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