$2.1bn arms fund: Buratai can’t be distracted – Army
*Says Army chief wasn’t procurement boss before March 2014
The Nigeria Army has said that the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Gen. Tukur Buratai will not be distracted by “evil machinations”, which will “surely fall back” on the bearers.
In the light of the ongoing probe into the abuse of the $2.1 billion meant for procurement of arms, which has seen the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, indicting some eminent Nigerians, a group, Save the Nation Movement (STNM), had called for the probe of Buratai, saying he was the Director of Procurement at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), between 2012 to 2015.
Responding however to the call for the EFCC to probe Buratai, Army spokesman, Sani Usman, in a statement described the allegation as “mischief”.
He referred to STNM which made the claim, as a “faceless” group and called on the public to disregard the message being passed across.
Usman said Buratai has never been involved in any questionable act all through his military career.
The statement read: “The Nigerian army has noted with dismay the attempt to rubbish the hard earned name and reputation of the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General and the Nigerian army by a faceless group that called itself Save the Nation Movement (STNM).”
“In a release signed by Steven Chilaka, its National Secretary on Sunday, they wanted the chief of army staff to be included among those indicted in the ongoing probe of abuse of funds meant for the procurement of arms simply because he was the director of procurement at the defence headquarters (DHQ).
“Unfortunately, the movement could not get their facts right as has always been the case with people with dubious intents.
“Contrary to their mischief, it should be noted that General Buratai was director of procurement at defence headquarters from March 2014 to May 2015, not from 2012 to 2015 as they wished to mislead the public.
“Furthermore, there is the need to educate the ignorant group that, defence procurement in Nigeria is decentralised each service is responsible for its procurement.
“It is advisable for the group to look elsewhere if they want to attack the chief of army staff. For the avoidance of doubt, the chief of army staff has never been involved in any questionable act throughout his career as military officer let alone when he was at the DHQ.”
The statement described Buratai as a role model for officers, adding that he has been able to enforce discipline in the army.
“As a matter of fact, the chief of army staff has always been a reference point in exemplary conduct, probity and integrity,” the statement read.
“It is on record that he voluntarily declared his assets both as commander MNJTF and as chief of army staff. In addition, he has directed all Nigerian army officers to do so. One wonders what the faceless groups motive is and why they are in a hurry to rubbish the good name of the chief army staff and the Nigerian army, when there is a presidential panel already working selflessly.
“Why is the group trying to jump the gun? Let these mischievous elements which Steven Chilaka represents, allow the panel to discharge its duties dispassionately as it is doing.
“It is advisable also that the faceless group should get their facts right and not just merely speculate or disturb us with their wishful thinking. They should further understand that whatever mischievous intentions they have against the chief of army staff and indeed, the Nigerian army, both would not be deterred, we shall remain focused and never to be distracted.
“Consequently, the public is please requested to disregard the so called movements evil machinations which would surely fall back on them.”