The arms purchase probe panel that was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe contracts executed during the administrations of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has started sitting with not less than 13 allegedly indicted retired generals opting for plea bargain.
A highly placed defence source at the weekend told Nigerian Pilot Sunday that the retired generals numbering 13 out of the 19 that are expected to be quizzed by the probe panel have already approach some members of the panel for amicable settlement of the matter than appearing before the panel.
According to the source, a former National Security Adviser is allegedly the arrowhead of the negotiation, if the members of the panel will accept their request. The security source further added that the 13 retired military chiefs are willing to refund N1 trillion to the federal government as part of the plea bargain arrangement.
The source added that the chairman of the probe panel is yet to take a decision on the proposal given to him by the affected indicted generals. Not fewer than 19 former military chiefs are to be quizzed by the panel.
They are five Chiefs of Defence Staff, 14 Service Chiefs; four National Security Advisers, NSAs and eight former Ministers of Defence. The probe has created panic among retired military chiefs who coordinated arms purchases in the last eight years.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday learnt that five Israelis, who played major roles in arms procurement for the military, in the last six years, are to be invited by the committee, whose members were named on Monday after President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive. The Israelis reportedly left the country on the eve of the general elections, but will be summoned by the probe panel to appear before it.
The government has directed that tight security be provided for members of the panel. The assignment is comprehensive. It will run through many administrations.
The source further added, “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.” The source gave insight into why it is necessary to invite the former CDS, Service Chiefs, NSAs and ex-ministers.
“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. Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that the panel might look into the administration of five Chiefs of Defence Staff, 14 Service Chiefs; four National Security Advisers and eight former Ministers of Defence.
The 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);
Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (2014-2015).
As for the Nigerian Army, those to be under searchlight are late
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).
In the Nigerian Navy, the investigation will cover the following past Chiefs of Naval Staff:
Vice Admiral GT Adekeye (2005-2008);
Vice Admiral II Ibrahim (2008-2010);
Vice Admiral OS Ibrahim (2010-2012);
Vice Admiral DJ Ezeoba (2012-2013)
and Vice Admiral UO Jibrin (2013- 2015).
For the Air Force, the scope of the probe will affect the tenures of the following officers and their teams. They include
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 timeframe of the panel are:
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