Monday, June 14, 2021

Missing arms funds: NSA Monguno makes U-turn, says he was “misquoted”

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Despite clearly indicting the former service chiefs under Buhari administration in missing arms procurement funds, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, has recanted.

He said he did not categorically say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs as reported or transcribed by the media.

Earlier on Friday morning, Mr Monguno told the BBC Hausa that said neither the money approved by Mr Buhari for arm purchase nor arm was met on ground when the new service chiefs assumed office.

Asked why the government is foot-dragging on fight against banditry, Mr Monguno said the president had done his best by approving huge amount of money for arm purchase but the equipment was not forthcoming.

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“Now that he (President Buhari) has brought new people (service chiefs), hopely they will device some ways… I’m not saying the former service chiefs diverted the money, but the money is missing. We don’t know how, and nobody knows for now,” he said.

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Asked whether the matter is investigated to trace the funds or the military hardwares, the NSA said the president would investigate the matter.

“The President will surely probe this matter. As we speak, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum too is also wondering where all the money went. I can assure you the president takes issues of this nature seriously.

“The fact is that preliminary investigation showed the funds are missing and the equipment is nowhere to be found.

“When the new service chiefs assumed office, they also said they didn’t see anything on ground,” said the NSA.

Mungono’s U-Turn

The attention of the Office of the National Security Adviser has been drawn to some media reports regarding Armed Forces equipment during an interview with the BBC Hausa service.  We would like to State that the NSA was quoted out of context as he did not categorically say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the Former Service Chiefs as reported or transcribed by some media outlets from the BBC interview. During the interview, the National Security Adviser only reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to deal decisively with insecurity and stated President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued commitment to provide all necessary support to the Armed Forces, including the provision of arms and equipment.

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2. In the interview the National Security Adviser clearly informed the BBC reporter that Mr President has provided enormous resources for arms procurement, but the orders were either inadequate or yet to be delivered and that did not imply that the funds were misappropriated under the former Service Chiefs. The NSA also informed the reporter that, Mr President is following up on the procurement process as is usual with contracts relating to military equipments, in most cases the process involves manufacturing, due diligence and tedious negotiations that may  change delivery dates.

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3. As the National Security Adviser conveyed during the Aso Villa Media Briefing, questions relating to Defence procurement should be channelled to the Ministry of Defence. All Security and Intelligence agencies are working together to bring an end to insecurity  with the full support of Mr. President and Stakeholders including the media and civil society as part of a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to address our security challenges.

Office of the National Security Adviser
Presidency
Abuja
12 March 2021

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