Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate arrest of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, accusing him of stealing roughly $2bn intended to support the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group that has claimed thousands of lives in the northeastern part of the country. The order for the arrest was also extended to other people found responsible for the money siphoning, the presidency said in a statement released late on November 17.
The directive followed the release of an interim report by the 13-man presidential committee set up by General Buhari to audit the procurement of arms and equipment for the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date. The report revealed that of 513 awarded contracts worth more than $19bn, 53 were failed contracts amounting to $2.5bn.
The committee found also that between March 2012 and March 2015, colonel Dasuki awarded some $1.7bn of fictitious and phantom contracts that were said to be for the purchase of four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs, and ammunition, but the equipment was never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force. During that period, Nigerian troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency were “in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition,” according to the presidency.
“Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided,” the presidency’s statement reads.
Buhari, who took office on May 29 following end-March’s peaceful elections, has focused on fighting widespread corruption and the Boko Haram extremists. The radical Islamist group, which has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State movement, has now overtaken Isis as the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation, according to a newly released report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The global think tank said that Boko Haram was responsible for 6,644 deaths last year, while Isis killed 6,073 people. At the same time, Nigeria experienced the largest increase in terrorist activity worldwide with 7,512 deaths in 2014, over four times more than in 2013.
“It is worrisome and disappointing that those entrusted with the security of this great nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury, while innocent lives were wasted daily,” the Nigerian presidency said.
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