BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has challenged the federal government to account for $1billion taken from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to buy weapons for the war against insecurity.
The governor requested President Muhammadu Buhari to keep officials accountable during a recent interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight programme monitored in Abuja on Monday.
On December 15, 2017, Nigeria’s National Economic Council decided to use $1 billion from the country’s excess crude account to combat the Boko Haram insurgency and other security issues.
The 36 state governors who attended the conference, which was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, pledged to help the Federal Government in its efforts to rid the North East of insurgents.
Many people, including Governor Wike, have raised concerns about the purchase of the equipment four years later, particularly as insecurity has worsened since then.
“I remember there was a time when $1 billion was taken from the Excess Crude Account to provide for security. Where is the equipment that we bought?
“If I should release that money as the Chief Security Officer, knowing how Nigeria is, I will make sure that those weapons and the right ones were bought,” Wike said.
The governor also reacted to the decision of the House of Representatives to summon the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over the procurement of arms.
He also faulted the response of the army chief over the arms purchase during his appearance before the House of Representatives panel.
Wike added, “I was surprised when I was watching the television when the House of Representatives invited the Chief of Army Staff about the purchase of weapons and he said ‘look, you know the right people to ask.
“You have to take leadership. Even if those who were at the helms of affairs of security, the onus is on you, you can still summon them back. ’”
Wike’s remarks come about three weeks after a tension ensued between the as some tension between the House ad-hoc committee on arms and ammunition, and the COAS following the investigation into arms purchase by the military.
Things took a different turn when the Chief of Army Staff, refused to speak further on a document which he had presented to the committee, asking the committee instead to review the documents which he considered self-explanatory.
The Chief of Army Staff insisted that he had barely settled into office and is definitely not the right person to speak on arms and ammunition purchased by his predecessors.
“Issues of arms procurement that you so demand to know were done by specific individuals, I will rather you call these individuals to explain to you very specific issues the general explanation is contained in this report,” the COAS told the lawmakers.
He added, “The submission before you speaks to the report before you. It is an executive summary. It is very self-explanatory to the extent that it has been pluralised. When you demanded this report, you stated a specific period for which you wanted it.
“You may wish to recall that the Chief of Army Staff took over the mantle of leadership barely two months ago.
“The period for which you want this report having been summarised in the executive summary explained whatever details you require.”