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Dasukigate: Why Army can’t probe ex-generals -Buratai

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has said the army cannot investigate roles played by ex-army chiefs and other senior officers in the ongoing $2.1billion arms deal scandal because, as retired personnel, they fall beyond the purview of the army.
Buratai, who responded to questions from the House of Representatives Committee on Army during his defence of the army’s 2016 budget, stressed that the status of the former service chiefs and senior officers makes it difficult for the army to successfully investigate them.
“The service chiefs and those involved in the procurement are retired, so, we are limited on the extent we can investigate them,” Buratai told the lawmakers.
But, in a swift response, chairman of the committee, Rima Shawulu, said the House has constitutional powers to institute a probe into the arms scandal.
This was as he called for urgent review of the arms procurement process for the Army and all security agencies.
Recently, some top ex-military personnel were invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the matter just as the former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) is currently facing criminal and corruption charges before the Federal High Court and Abuja High Court respectively.
According to Shawulu, the call for a review of the process was targeted at preventing future occurrences of the lingering controversies over the purchase of arms and ammunitions as well as the alleged purchase of substandard arms involving some top military officers.
In a related development, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmud Yakubu, yesterday said the commission needs N10 billion to conduct 80 re-run elections.
Yakubu made the disclosure at the budget defence hearing at the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters. He said the amount is meant for logistics and other activities for the re-run elections to be held between now and March 19.
Meanwhile, the army said on Tuesday that it will not reabsorb the 250 soldiers dismissed last week for failing to join their colleagues posted to the North East.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, said the soldiers were dismissed over gross acts of indiscipline, cowardice, and absence without leave.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has also been drawn to a set of 250 protesting dismissed soldiers in Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Kaduna, pleading through the media to be reabsorbed back again into the Nigerian Army. They were part of the 2,023 dismissed soldiers last year that were earlier reinstated back into the Service by the present Chief of Army Staff. However, these set of soldiers (the 250) absconded for more than one week when they were told that they were to move to North East on January 6, 2016.
“The protesting soldiers are the few who were recalcitrant to military duties and discipline. They are simply not interested in army job but want to earn salary. No one should listen to them as they are not patriotic at all.”
Mr. Usman said the army had been tolerant with the soldiers’ acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conduct.

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