The joint committees of House of Representatives tasked to investigate the Jon-Ode led Presidential Arms Probe Panel have concluded plans and are expected to kick-start the public hearing on Wednesday.
The chairman of one of the committees, the Public Safety, National Security and Intelligence Committee, Aminu Jaji, disclosed that arrangements have been concluded to conduct the hearing.
Mr Jaji, a representative from Zamfgara state, said the Joint committee comprising committees of National Security and Intelligence and Public Procurement was set up after a lot of petitions were received by the Lower Chamber against the presidential investigating panel established by the government.
“The Presidency set up a presidential committee on armed procurement and the Office of the National Security Adviser also set up another verification committee to ascertain some of the claims.
“So far what the committees have submitted, based on the information in the public domain are preliminary reports rather than full and comprehensive report.
“Findings have further shown that very few claims of the firms involved in arms procurement have so far been verified while nothing is being done on others.
“As you are aware the National Assembly has received a lot of petitions and complaints over the conducts of the panel and activities of the firms being probed.
“We are also inundated with complaints that the inability of the panel to submit its reports has led to the failure of the government to pay arms contractors for their work and is affecting military operation.
“Meanwhile there are also allegations that some of the contracts awarded to the firms were outrageous, apart from the fact that many did not follow due process and yet others received payment without carrying the job,” he said.
The Joint Committee co-chaired also by Oluwole Oke of the Public Procurement committee had recently called for submission of written memoranda/position papers from top government officials and 241 firms.
Chairman and members of the Jon-ode Arms Probe Panel, National Security Adviser, NSA, Defense Minister, Finance Minister, Interior Minister, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federation and Auditor General of the Federation, were some of the invitees to the public hearing.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Service Chiefs and Ex-Service Chiefs from 2010 to 2016, Director General, Department of State Service, DSS, Director General, National Intelligence Agency,NIA, Acting Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Director General Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Director General of the Pension Commission, PENCOM, Director General Industrial Training Fund and Managing Director Social Insurance Trust Fund, were also invited.
The arm probe panel was inaugurated in 2015 by the Presidency to investigate procurement of hardware and ammunitions in the Armed Forces from 2007 to 2015 and to identify irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the military.
The panel had submitted its first interim report in November 2015 while it presented the second report in January 2016 following which President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate some serving and retired military officers, mainly from the Nigerian Air Force, NAF.