The controversy trailing the allegation of missing arms fund under the leadership of the former service chiefs has continued to generate mixed reactions from different parts of the country.
Major General Babagana Monguno, who is the National Security Adviser (NSA), was said to have alleged during an interview with BBC Hausa Service that the funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the former security chiefs.
While his office stated that the NSA was quoted out of context and did not categorically make such a claim, the Presidency avowed that no such money was missing.
“I imagine that you are talking about the $1 billion taken from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) with the consent of state governors and was used for military procurement.
“I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing,” Mr Garba Shehu said on Friday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
He added, “The reference by it in the interview with Hausa Service of the BBC by the National Security Adviser, I think, has been misconstrued and mistranslated.”
Held Up In UAE
Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, clarified the controversy triggered by the claim and went further to give an insight into the procurements made by the military since the funds were withdrawn.
He noted that the procurements made have not been fully delivered and about $536 million of the money was paid directly in a government-to-government transaction with the United States government.
“In August 2018, they (the US) allowed the Nigerian Government to buy 12 Super Tucano aircraft suitable for the kind of war we are fighting in the North East. In addition to that, other arms of the military have also made procurements.
“The Nigerian Navy has done nearly 100 per cent of their procurements equipment delivered; the Nigerian Air Force has bought a number of attack helicopters – 35 i-helicopters from Ukraine,” the presidential aide outlined.
He, however, said there have been problems with the procurements made by the Nigerian Army, stressing that the equipment have been coming in bits and in pieces.
Shehu disclosed that Nigeria’s biggest procurement was coming from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“As I speak to you, it is held up in a situation which only diplomacy will resolve. The Nigerian Minister of Defence actually had a meeting with the Ambassador of the UAE to Nigeria and the idea is to resolve this so that these equipment held up will be released.
“We need them here, all these procurements are ongoing; nothing can be bought on the shelf, they are bought on order. The NSA did not make accusations of misappropriation because there is none in dealing with this matter,” he insisted.