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More heads to roll in military over arms deal

By The Citizen
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After the recent gale that swept away 38 Nigerian Army officers, more heads are likely to roll as the Presiden­tial Committee on Defence Equip­ment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces prepares to submit its final report.

The panel, which earlier submitted two interim reports to the Presidency, would make its final and concluding reports in a matter of days, Daily Sun learnt.

According to the source, 'more of­ficers would be shown the way out in the coming days following their role in the arms purchase deal.' But it did not give a specific number or calibre of officers that would be affected. 'I cannot really tell, but it runs into hun­dreds, and the reason is nothing other than to sanitize the system because a lot of rot has taken place… if nothing is done to arrest the rot, we may wake up one day and find something else about our military.'

This is just as top security sources said the arrest of one of the com­mittee members, Air Commodore Mohammed Umar, last month by the Department of State Security Service (SSS) on allegation of fraud has not in anyway affected the proceedings of the panel whose members meet Monday-Saturday from 9-5pm.

Source said the delay in submit­ting the panel reports had to do with more revelations made by some of the officers being investigated. In March, the 13-member committee, predomi­nantly made up of retired military officers, invited 292 retired and serv­ing top army officers to explain their roles in the controversial $2.1 billion arms deal allegedly supervised by the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd). In the course of investigation, those invited were said to have named some other persons.

'The revelations against such per­sons are so weighty they could not be swept under the carpet. So, from time to time, the panel was constrained to extend invitations to those men­tioned, even though they were not on the original list of persons invited for interview. As a result of the develop­ment, the panel has not been able to send a complete report to the conven­ing authority to decide on what to do,' it said.

The source said the panel has spent more time probing the army because of its size and the fact that it was more deeply involved in several operations not only in the North East but also across the country.

When asked if the delay had any­thing to do with the alleged frosty relationship between the NSA, the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), as well as the role played by retired and serving offi­cers, the source answered: 'One thing you must understand is that when you try to fight corruption, corruption will fight you back.'

But another source denied any rift between the NSA and DG, SSS.

The source which told Daily Sun the DSS boss and other top security officers have been attending meetings which the NSA chairs to coordinate the intelligence community, added: 'Those sponsoring the rumour are bent on causing discord within the intelligence community and security apparatus of the government, that way, they can continue with their nefarious activities.'

Only recently, 38 officers were shown the boot not only for their alleged involvement in the controver­sial $2.1 billion arms deal allegedly supervised by Dasuki, but for sundry sins such as political partisanship, money laundry and corruption which included buying of choice houses abroad.

Daily Sun gathered that but for the president's intervention, 300 officers would have been sent on compulsory retirement.

A top presidency source told Daily Sun that as matter of fact, the officers ought to have been retired in August 2015.