BY OBUTE JAMES
The investigation into the procurement of arms and ammunition by the previous administrations will witness the appearance of past ministers, Chiefs of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and National Security Advisers.
Sources revealed that five Israelis, who played major roles in arms procurement for the military in the last six years, are also expected to be invited by the committee set up on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Israelis reportedly left the country on the eve of the general elections, following signs that Buhari might win the poll.
A source said “The probe will require looking into the administrations of five Chiefs of Defence Staff, 14 Service Chiefs; four National Security Advisers and eight former ministers. It is a Herculean task.
“Already, there is panic in the circle of retired military officers on the intent of the evaluation of arms purchase. Some of these former military chiefs have reached out to panel members to allow them have access to relevant documents.”
A military source gave insight into why it is necessary to invite the former CDS, Service Chiefs, NSAs and ex-ministers.
The source said: “All arms deals were not subjected to the nation’s procurement laws even though the late President Umaru Yar’Adua specifically said there should be no due process waiver for the military.
“Most of the military chiefs cited security reasons for not subjecting those purchases to the nation’s laws. So, some of these military officers either depended on the Ministry of Defence or used internal mechanisms to buy arms.
“In some instances, there were directives from the Presidential Villa as in the case of the $466.5m contract awarded to a financier of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014 by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to weaponise six Puma helicopters. The immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, raised some issues but he was overruled.
“Some former ministers of defence interfered with arms purchase but a few others were sidelined. The immediate past Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, complained at a point to Jonathan that he was not fully in the picture of things.”
On the invitation of the Israelis The Nation report indicate that the Israelis were central to the facilitation of the purchase of the arms for the military in any part of the world. But they left Nigeria before the general election when the signs were clear that President Buhari was likely to win the poll.
The Source said “They came for legitimate arms business but they got entrenched in the Nigerian system. They are all well-known in the nation’s security network. The panel may invite them for interaction.
“Besides the Israelis, some South Africans and Russians will be contacted. We know their embassies will cooperate with the panel.”
Those expected to be invited are Chiefs of Defence Staff from 2007 to 2015 are: the late Lt.-Gen. Owoye Andrew Azazi (2007-2008); Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike(2008-2010); Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin (2010-2012); Admiral Ola Ibrahim(2012-2014); and Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (2014-2015).
Nigerian Army: Lt.-Gen. Luka Yusuf (2007-2008), Lt.-Gen. Abdurrahman Dambazzau (2008-2010), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika(2010-2014) and Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah (January 2014-July 2015).
Nigerian Navy: Chiefs of Naval Staff: Vice Admiral G.T. Adekeye (2005-2008); Vice Admiral I.I. Ibrahim (2008-2010); Vice Admiral O.S. Ibrahim (2010-2012); Vice Admiral D.J. Ezeoba (2012-2013); and Vice Admiral U.O. Jibrin (2013-2015).
Air Force: Air Marshal Paul Dike (2006-2008); Air Marshal Oluseyi Petirin (2008-2010); Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar (2010-2012); Air Marshal Alex Badeh (2012-2014) and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (2014-2015).
The National Security Advisers from 2007 to 2014 are: Gen. Aliyu Gusau; the late Gen. Owoye Azazi; Gen. Sarki Mukhtar; and Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The Ministers of Defence within the time frame of the panel are: Yayale Ahmed (2007-2008); Shettima Mustapha (2098-2009); Godwin Abbe (2009-2010); Adetokunbo Kayode (2010-2011); Bello Haliru Mohammed (2011-2012); Erelu Olusola Obada (2012-2013); Gen. Aliyu Gusau (2013-2015) and Musiliu Obanikoro (2012-2014).