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Reps panel summons army chief, Emefiele over arms purchase

Author:
Samuel Akpan

A house of representatives committee has summoned Attahiru Ibrahim, chief of army staff (COAS), to clarify issues concerning arms purchase for the Nigerian army.

The ad hoc committee on arms and ammunition also summoned Godwin Emiefele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to brief it on funds released for the purchase of arms.

It issued the summon at its sitting on Monday following the duo’s failure to honour previous invitations.

The committee was constituted to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by the military and other law enforcement agencies.

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But previous attempts to get the chief of army staff and the CBN governor to address them on the issue have failed.

At the resumed sitting, Bede Eke, a member of the committee, moved a motion for the summon, saying it was unacceptable for the duo to ignore their invitations.

“CBN has been a problem for this house. They cannot operate the way they are operating and this house will keep quiet because we approve their budget, the lawmaker said.

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“What are we asking for? Come and tell us how much we have paid for the purchase of arms; we have given you the right to a fair hearing. Are you hiding anything? We will not allow it.

“If there is something you are hiding because you are CBN, we will not allow it. People are killed every day … we do not have time; we come here every day, sit for hours and wait for a government agency.

“I move that we summon especially the COAS and CBN; enough is enough. Let them be summoned, that is when they will know we are serious.”

Olaide Akinremi, chairman of the committee, said the lawmakers had also invited the ministries of finance, defence and interior as well as the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) over the matter.

Ibrahim Aliyu from Sokoto state said the public officers must come to terms with the importance of the investigation and desist from shunning the invitations.

There have been questions over the use of funds for arms purchase especially after Babagana Monguno, national security adviser (NSA), said they were missing.

Although he did not accuse the immediate past service chiefs of misappropriating the funds, he said the money might have been used in other ways unknown to anybody at present.

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