N29bn Arms probe: EFCC detains ex-Chief of Air Staff, Amosu

Buhari fighting insurgency with arms I bought — Jonathan
Says PDP’ll bounce back
Jonathan bought junk weapons—Presidency

By Soni Daniel, Kingsley Omonobi, Clifford Ndujihe & Dapo Akinrefon

ABUJA—Following his alleged indictment in the N29 billion arms probe, former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu, was, Wednesday, invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, grilled on his role and  detained because all issues pertaining to his alleged indictment were not concluded.

This came as former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was prosecuting the war against the Boko Haram insurgency with arms his administration procured.

Operatives of the EFCC were said to have continued the interrogation of the former Air Chief, yesterday, at EFCC headquarters and at press time, Amosu was still with the anti-graft agency.

 Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Adesola
FILE:Air Marshal Adesola

Sources disclosed that Air Marshal Amosu arrived EFCC premises in the evening of Wednesday, but was later joined by some other officers of the ranks of Air Vice-Marshals, some of who served under him as Principal Staff Officers or Directors at the Headquarters of  the Nigerian Air Force.

Asked if the former Air Chief will be granted administrative bail since he honoured his invitation, a source said that depended on the level of the interrogation.

NAF under Amosun, was alleged to have admitted receiving non-existent ammunition and aircraft, a development which a presidential panel frowned at.

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the probe of arms procurement and the panel indicted top military and political actors who are being tried in court.

Many other top military officers named in the arms scam have had their property sealed as a first step towards confiscating them.

Efforts to get the spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren to confirm the interrogation of the former Air Chief proved abortive.

Buhari fighting insurgency with arms I bought — Jonathan

Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was prosecuting the war against the Boko Haram insurgency with the arms his administration procured.

Insisting that he laid a solid foundation for terrorism to be defeated, Dr Jonathan expressed hope that very soon, the new government would defeat the insurgency.

Jonathan, who spoke in an interview with France 24  as quoted by The Cable, said  that insurgency caught the country unawares but noted that his government laid a solid foundation for terrorism to be defeated.

His words: “The new government is working hard and I believe they are still using the equipment we procured. Though the budget is still being debated, no new equipment has been bought, so even those equipment the President is using to prosecute the war against Boko Haram are those equipment we procured.

“When Boko Haram started in Nigeria, we had no terror experience. Yes, we had armed robbery and other common crimes, but terrorism was different because the people involved were not afraid to die. So, you need a different mechanism to confront terrorism; you need superior technology to be able to stop them even before they attack. We never had the equipment, but when we were confronted, we started acquiring and before I left office, we built reasonable capacity and I believe with what we left behind and also with what the new government will acquire, they will be able to prosecute this terror war to a reasonable conclusion.”

PDP ‘ll bounce back

Former President Goodluck Jonathan (L) With President Muhammadu Buhari, After A Close Door Meeting At The Presidential Villa In Abuja On Monday (2/11/15).
Former President Goodluck Jonathan (L) With President Muhammadu Buhari, After A Close Door Meeting At The Presidential Villa In Abuja On Monday (2/11/15).

On the crisis ravaging the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Jonathan expressed optimism that the former ruling party would soon gain stability.

“The PDP definitely will have some minor issues, it is expected. We lost the presidency and definitely we will have some kind of leadership problems. When you have a president, everybody looks up to the president. But when you no longer have the president, it becomes difficult for the party to have strong leadership. I believe whatever you observe will be sorted out. Leaders of the party, elders of the party have been meeting and all the perceived disagreements will soon be sorted out.

“Every political party has misunderstanding, it is not new, it is always there. From the beginning of PDP, even before I got to Abuja as a Vice-President and President, there were instances when the chairman of the party will be asked to step down. And some officers leave from time to time when there are issues. So what is happening is not new but I promise you that PDP will stabilize.

“In fact, by March this year, we are going to elect officers at the lowest levels of the wards to the local government, to the states, to the zones then of course  the national officers will be elected. So the party will bounce back, whatever you are perceiving, it always happens and we will get over it,” he said.

Jonathan  bought junk weapons—Presidency

Debunking the former President’s claim, the Presidency, yesterday, maintained that weapons bought by the previous administration were mostly junk.

In a statement by  Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the presidency said the former president got his facts mixed up.

The statement read: “We have it on good authority that the former President did not get the correct briefing on these facts.

Weapons bought by his government were mostly junk.

“From the revelations of the procurement investigation committee now going on, it is clear that his government was ill-advised in its procurement processes.

“Evidence shows that some of his service chiefs used criminally-minded vendors to defraud the country of billions of Naira.

“For instance, bullion vans, the ones used in ferrying cash to and from banks were procured and presented in military colours as armoured personnel carriers. Bullion vans have what the military call “soft skin,” which is easily penetrated by bullet.

“On good authority, we have equally been informed that “floatation jackets” were brought in as bullet-proof jackets. If the correct procurement procedure had been followed, in a government-to- government order as we now have under the Buhari administration, this disservice to the nation would not have happened.

“This administration found out, upon investigation that most of those things the soldiers at the front were complaining against were true. The personal weapons they were made to carry were those bought in the 60s, 70s and the 80s.

Those defective weapons are now being replaced even as investigations are still going on.”

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