13th March, 2021
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Presidency has said no money for buying arms to fight insurgency is missing as being reported in the media.
National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, in an interview with BBC Hausa Services had said money meant to buy arms was missing.
But Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview with Channels TV on Friday night assured that the $1 billion taken from the excess crude account was being utilised for the purpose and that nothing was missing.
He said the reference by it in the interview of the BBC in Hausa service by the national security adviser, had been misconstrued and mistranslated.
Shehu said the NSA made two critical points, which were that “One is that we don’t have enough which is a statement of fact, and two, procurements made have not been fully delivered.”
He explained that in August 2018, they allowed the Nigerian government to buy 12 super Tucano light aircraft suitable for the kind of war the nation is fighting in the north-east.
In addition to the Super Tucano, other arms of the military had also made procurement.
Shehu said the navy has done nearly 100 percent of their procurement, with the equipment delivered, adding that the Air Force had bought a number of attack helicopters.
Thirty-five helicopters were bought from Ukraine, he said.
He added that some of them had been commissioned on national television.
He said that the nation had bought a lot of drones.
He lamented that with the army, there had been problems with procurement, as the equipment had been coming in bits and pieces, which is not ideal.
“In fact, our biggest procurement is coming from the UAE. As I speak to you now, it is held up in a situation only diplomacy will resolve.
“We were talking to them last week; 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 the equipment held up will be released. We need them here,” he said.
Shehu stated that all these procurement were ongoing, stressing that the NSA did not make accusations of misappropriation, because there was none in dealing with this matter.
He said he has heard the interview on radio and at no point did the NSA said that money were appropriated and there were no arms to be seen.
“They have not been delivered; yes, that is correct, but the thing is that they are things you buy on order, not off the shelf,” he explained.