Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to stop acting like the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria by shielding his men from probe.
The governor also asked Nigerians to demand the release of the authentic report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces.
Fayose described the claim by the federal government that the probe panel only looked into procurement and contracts awarded by the military from 2011 to 2015 because documents regarding procurement from 2007 to 2010 were not available, as a clear indication of his support for corruption.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday, dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the report of the committee was doctored.
Following the submission of the AVM JON Ode (retd) led committee’s report last week, President Buhari gave approval for the probe of two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Lt. -Gen. Kenneth Minimah, and 52 others, over arms procurement scandal.
However, the report generated some controversy over alleged shielding of former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.) and current Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
Reacting to the development, Mr. Fayose, in a statement issued Sunday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said “It is now obvious to the entire world that anyone that is in President Buhari’s good books can never be adjudged as corrupt even if such a person is caught looting the entire money in Nigeria’s treasury”.
The governor said it smacked of sheer hypocrisy and nepotism for anyone to accept that fraud could have been perpetrated on procurement and award of contracts in an establishment without the involvement of the director of procurement.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai was in charge of procurement at the time the said frauds were committed. He has also been recently enmeshed in a Dubai-properties ownership controversy with civil society groups and rights activists among others, questioning how he got over a million dollars to pay for the choice properties.
“There are many petitions relating to defence from 2007 that are been discarded, the question is why? There are several petitions against APC leaders that are not being looked into, the question is why?
“Fighting corruption and targeting only opponents of the president is in itself corruption”, Fayose fumed.
He continued, “Buhari’s’ Minister of Interior, Major General Abdul rahman Dambazau (rtd) was Chief of Army Staff between 2008 and 2010 and the current Chief Of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai served as Director of Procurements, Defence Headquarters, from 2012 till May 2015.
“It is a fact that the committee in its terms of reference said it queried all procurement from 2007 to 2015. Even the Press Release issued was titled; ‘Third Interim Report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement from 2007 to 2015.
“First paragraph of the committee report also indicated that it used 2007-2015 as reference, stating that the committee ‘analyzed procurement contracts awarded by or for the Nigerian Army between 2007
“Questions Nigerians must now begin to ask President Buhari and his government are; where is the report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement relating to 2007 to 2010? Who doctored the committee report and why?
“Lai Mohammed said the Committee would commence the audit of procurement from 2007 to 2010 ‘as soon as the necessary documents are available’, it is necessary that Nigerians are told who the custodians of the documents are. Why were documents on procurement from 2011 and 2015 available and those of 2007 to 2010 not available?
“Early this year, we were told that an ally of President Buhari and chieftain of the APC, Brig. General Jafaru Isa (rtd) refunded N100 million of the N170 million he allegedly received from ex-NSA, Sambo Dasuki.
“Jafaru Isa, who was a member of the 19-man Buhari Transition Committee was released after he was allegedly assisted by the Presidency to refund N100 million to the anti-graft commission and since then, nothing has been heard about the case. He was not charged to court like others.
“It took the Ministry of Defence and the Code of Conduct Bureau only one week to clear Buratai but others from the opposition party would be languishing in prison while EFCC go about fishing for evidence against them.
“Like I and other well-meaning Nigerians have maintained, fighting corruption is a good idea but the moment documents of probe panels and being doctored to shield those seen as the President’s men, the entire purpose of the corruption fight has been defeated.
“The international community must therefore prevail on President Buhari to stop acting like the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria by making the anti-corruption war all-inclusive instead of this clear persecution of his perceived political enemies, and the first step to demonstrate that will be the immediate release of report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement covering 2007 to 2015”.