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Arms Probe: Reps Fume as COAS Confronts Panel, Emefiele Shuns Lawmakers

There were fireworks as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, on Monday appeared before the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, appeared before the committee. He was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Sanusi Lemu.

The committee had no less than two times invited Attahiru and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to answer questions on the procurement of arms and ammunition.

During Attahiru’s appearance on Monday, the lawmakers demanded an apology from him. The COAS, however, declined to tender the apology.

Attahiru said, “I have earlier been invited to come before you. Due to exigency of duty, it was not possible. I was either in the North-East to serve Nigeria or in the South-South, trying to ensure stability within Nigeria.

However, a member of the committee, Francis Waive, said, “This 9th house has done a lot for the security of this country, not only on budgetary provisions but has made every legislative provision available for security to be well taken care of in this country.

“So, one would have expected that today that you are able to honour this invitation, there would have been something that sounds like an apology for not being able to make it all along. But what we have gotten is an explanation.

Waive also asked the COAS to explain the delay in the submission of the last set of documents from the Nigerian Army.

Responding, Attahiru said, “We are partners in progress. When you say I offered an explanation, it is as good as an apology. It only tells you the reason I was not here and the reasons are cogent enough.”

Another member of the committee, Preye Oseke also stated that the COAS was expected to make a presentation of the documents submitted by his office.

Responding, Attahiru stated that the second set of documents was self-explanatory as they were an executive summary. He also noted that he was less than two months in office, while the period being reviewed by the lawmakers exceeds the duration.

Bede Eke, another member,  urged both sides to understand that people were dying every day in the country due to the security crises.

Chairman of the committee, Olaide Akintemi, later asked that journalists and aides leave the venue.

The meeting, however, ended about 15 minutes after.

Eke, who later addressed journalists on behalf of the committee, disclosed that the COAS asked for more time to bring more documents.

The lawmaker said, “Even the Central Bank of Nigeria, up till now have not shown; we have not seen them. What we hear is their informal communication but we expect them to write us officially. And we have informally told them too.


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