Buhari shaky as top military brass vows to stop Arms probe

By Amako Nneji January 31, 2016 09:12

Buhari shaky as top military brass vows to stop Arms probe

The Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has adopted measures to frustrate the plot by some top military officers, planning to infiltrate and compromise the ongoing arms deal probe.

Consequently, Buhari has beefed up security around the probe panel chairman, AVM J.O.N. Ode (Rtd) and other members of the committee.

Reports on Saturday night revealed that the action was to check the desperation of some suspects being investigated in the arms deals.

Investigations suggested that some of the military officers under probe had gone as far as employing subtle means to woo relations and friends of the Panel Chairman and it’s members with a view to prevailing on the panelists to give them a soft landing.

But the committee members have vowed to get to the root of the scandal in the Armed Forces.

“Some of these suspects are so desperate that they are ready to do anything to escape justice.

“You can imagine how daring they have become by offering $150,000 to an EFCC operative.

“The government has decided to build heavy security round the Chairman and members of the Special Investigative Committee and their families,” a highly placed source said.

Other members of the committee are R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.); R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.); Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.); Brig Gen M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.); Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.); Cdre T.D. Ikoli ; Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’i; Col A.A. Ariyibi; Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.); Mr. Ibrahim Magu (EFCC) and Brig Gen Y.I. Shalangwa (Secretary).

Responding to a question, the source said: “The ongoing exercise comes with a lot of risks for the chairman and members of the committee.

“The probe of the procurements by the military is just about 50 per cent level and the panel has uncovered mind-boggling frauds.

“By the time the panel is fully done, Nigerians will appreciate the extent of the rot in the system.

“Yet, most of these suspects are really daring and too desperate in wielding influence.

“Phase II of the investigation borders on inflation, diversion, reduction and embezzlement of salaries and allowances of troops by senior officers. This committee is yet to get to this bend.”

According to The Nation Newspaper,  some of the serving military officers being probed are still retained in their command positions for strategic reasons.

Some of those affected are the most senior Air Force Officers, AVM A. M. Mamu(the Chief of Administration); AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo (former Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); AVM  R.A. Ojuawo (Air Officer Tactical Air Command, Makurdi; AVM J.B. Adigun(former Chief of Accounts  and Budgeting in NAF); and AVM JA Kayode-Beckley(Director, Armament Research in Air ForceResearch and Development Centre).

Others include; AVM T Omenyi (MD, NAF Holdings) four top officers at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Air Cdre AO Ogunjobi; Air Cdre GMD Gwani; Air Cdre SO Makinde; Air Cdre AY Lassa and Col. N. Ashinze, who was the Special Military Assistant to the Ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.

A defence source said the military hierarchy left these officers in charge of their formations to  “protect their right to fair hearing, their innocence until proven guilty and prevent them from leaving the country under any guise.

“They are no doubt distracted by the allegations against them but it is tactical to leave them in their positions until it is ripe to invite, arrest or detain them.

“As long as they remain in service, it will help the assignment of the Special Investigative Committee.

“We want them to be in the system and answer all the allegations against them. It is like putting them in a tight corner.”

As at press time, it was learnt that the movement of an Isreali agent, who facilitated some of the arms procured, has been restricted.

Another source close to the committee said: “The passport of the Israeli agent has been seized and he is virtually restricted to his residence pending the conclusion of the ongoing probe by the committee.”