Reps probe quality of multi-billion dollar imported arms by Buhari, Jonathan

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, flagged off its investigation into the quality of arms imported into the country worth several billions of dollars by President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, President Goodluck Jonathan, over the past 10 years.

Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on the need to review the use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by Military, Paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, Hon Olaide Akinremi disclosed this, in Abuja, while addressing representatives of newly appointed Service Chiefs and other paramilitary and security agencies, who attended the inauguration ceremony.

Hon Akinremi who announced that the Ad-hoc Committee has commenced its legislative process of evidence-gathering towards accomplishing its assignment, explained that “it is through evidence gathered that the committee will be able to deliver on this all-important national assignment that will guarantee national security, economic growth and national development.”

While soliciting for the cooperation of all the stakeholders, Hon. Akinremi affirmed that the Committee is empowered by sections 88 and 89(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to “procure all such evidence written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject matter; require such evidence to be given on oath, and summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document…, among other provisions.”

“Without prejudice to the specification of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as noted above, the enabling statutes of relevance to this investigative hearing are the various statutes establishing the concerned institutions, and within the context of the provisions of section 9(1) of the Armed Forces Act, 1994.

“Consequently the committee shall proceed to investigate the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition purchased in the last ten years by clear inquest into the relevant tools and equipment, as well as ammunitions as to whether evidence exist or not.

“At the moment globally, there is need for unfettered efficiency in the management of economy of all nations. This is an emergent challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as it sweeps across nation.

“Procurement, for which arms and ammunitions from a substantial proportion, amounts to 12 per cent of global GDP in 2018. The percentage for Africa stood at 13.5 while Nigeria’s was 14.25 per cent. Arguably, the International Trade Centre ranks Nigeria 4th in Africa (world 52) in arms importation (behind Morocco, world 47), Egypt, world 41; South Africa, world 39). Nigeria is said to have spent an estimated sum of $47.387 million in arms importation by 2019.

“The trend is very significant in considering national development, capital formation, technical progress and economic growth. As a way forward, the Committee shall reach out to you in writing within the next 10 days – with demand detailed requirements as it affect your institution such that will assist our work, and form basis for our subsequent interactions,” the Chairman urged.

On his part, sponsor of the motion, Hon Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu who argued that “Nigeria has least security budget in the whole world,” stressed the need to explore other avenues with the view to address the security challenges facing the country, including the inflow of arms and ammunitions.

“You are not unaware of the very challenging Transition the country is finding itself particularly on security.

“The country is being ridden by issues bothering on insurgency, which I said earlier that the country has been involved in fighting insurgency for the past 10 years, armed banditry that is right now consuming the North West and the North Central.

“My Constituency is one of the most affected in Sokoto; rape, armed robbery and other heinous crimes.”

In the bid to solve the problem, he underscored the need for Nigeria to “look inward, and call spade by its name, a spade. Most of these criminals that were arrested you find them bearing weapons and ammunition. But he do they come about it?

“I agree that yes, we have porous borders, but to a certain extent we have budget on security particularly purchase of arms and ammunition, are the quality of arms purchased equal to the task of combating these crimes? Is it that the budget is too merger for the security agencies to contend with the situation?

“This informed the reason why I moved the motion and the National Assembly, particularly the members of our own relief, in unison resolved to investigate about what goes wrong and where? And find out how to build synergy with a view to contain the situation once and for all.

Speaking at the sideline of the inauguration, Alh Aliyu Yar’Adua, chairman, National Task Force who expressed grief over the inability of successive governments to find lasting solutions to the security challenges, observed that illegal arms and ammunitions have dominated the country are being used by the perpetrators of heinous crimes to kill both young and the old.

To this end, he harped on the need for synergy among relevant stakeholders in the bid to address myriads of challenges facing the country, noting that “none of the agencies of Government has been able to bring forward solutions in order to tackle the menace, because everything going on about insecurity is a mirage. This time around, I think it’s the starting point.”

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Reps probe quality of multi-billion dollar imported arms by Buhari, Jonathan

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Reps probe quality of multi-billion dollar imported arms by Buhari, Jonathan

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