Thursday, August 27

We’re not involved in recent arms purchase – Defence Ministry

The Ministry of Defence was not involved in the procurement of arms for the nation’s armed forces in recent years.

This notwithstanding, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the ministry be coopted into the 13-man investigative committee to probe the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Aliyu Ismaila, disclosed these to State House correspondents on Thursday shortly after he led others to brief the President of his ministry’s activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ismaila said it was sometimes in the past that the ministry was involved in the arms procurement.
He said the task was however later transferred to the military services.

“Definitely, the ministry was involved in the procurement of arms sometimes but in recent years, the responsibility was shifted to the services,” he simply said.

He gave an impression that the ministry was involved in the procurement during the period under probe.

He said that was why Buhari directed during the meeting that the ministry be coopted into the panel.
The Permanent Secretary said the ministry was excited at the establishment of the committee.

He said, “Mr. President has asked that the Ministry of Defence to be included in that (arms probe) committee.

“The ministry was very involved in the procurement in those years, so definitely we have something to present to that committee.

“So we are part and parcel of that committee. The ministry is very excited that this committee has been formed, because our own concern apart from the administrative and financial support is to make sure that policy thrust is complied with.

“Procurement of relevant equipment according to specification of Nigerian armed forces is being complied with and we are very happy for that.

“At the end of this, we hope to have procurement that will be value added, cost effective and will meet our needs both locally and internationally.”

Ismaila said the nation’s service chiefs, immediately after their decoration, had been working hard to meet the three months deadline given to them by the President to end insurgency.
He said terror had not come to stay in the country as the nation’s armed forces were being retrained to meet to end the scourge.

He assured Nigerians that the issue of equipment would be one of the immediate needs that the President would address.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, had on Monday announced the composition of the committee saddled with the responsibility of probing arms purchase from 2007 till now.

Adesina had said the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), set up the committee on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adesina had said the President directed the NSA to set up the committee with the mandate of identifying irregularities and making recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.

Members of the committee include AVM J.O.N. Ode (retd.) -President; R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (retd.); R/Adm E. Ogbor (retd.); Brig.-Gen L. Adekagun (retd.); Brig.-Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (retd.); Brig.-Gen. N. Rimtip (retd.); Cdre T.D. Ikoli; Air Cdre U. Mohammed (retd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’i; Col. A.A. Ariyibi; Group Capt. C.A. Oriaku (retd.); Mr. I. Magu (EFCC); and Brig.-Gen Y.I. Shalangwa -Secretary.

Adesina explained that the establishment of the committee was in keeping with Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service.

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