By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has given further breakdown on how the $1 billion withdrawn from the nation’s Excess Crude Accounts for the procurement of military hardwares was spent.
According to a breakdown made available to newsmen yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, a total of $876,888,428.71 has already been expended on the purchase of several military hardwares.
The balance, the Presidency disclosed, stands at $123,111,571.29. The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had alleged that the $1 billion approved for procurement of military equipment by the National Assembly was diverted to fund President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election expenses in February.
Shehu stated “The PDP is under a socioemotional distress. They think that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own.
“Here is as much detail as we can provide at this time concerning the USD 1,000 Million from Excess Crude Account which withdrawal was authorized by the National Economic Council.
“The record we have is that the Buhari administration paid $496,374,470 for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft for the Air Force in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with the government of the United States of America. They are due for delivery in 2020.
“Various other military procurements for critical equipment have been made. These are for the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy, amounting to $380,513,958,71. These procurements include money for the purchase of Navy Lynx helicopters. Total amount spent so far: $876,888,428.71.
The equipment paid for have due dates of delivery of between six months to two years.
“Balance of the money that is unspent as at today is $123,111,571.29.
“The entire expenditure involved in these exercises is on the basis of government-to-government procurement. In cases where the Nigerian government dealt with equipment manufacturers, their home governments have in all cases given guarantees to the federal government. Again, it is important to stress that no contractors or commission agents have been involved in the procurements under discussion.
“All USD 1,000 million was domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria and to date, not a single Dollar of it has been transferred to the Ministry of Defence or any other ministry, agency of government, individuals or political party office as was the norm under the PDP administration.
“We note that the PDP made so much of a report claiming that the National Security Adviser, NSA had declared the entire amount of USD 1,000 million as missing. The NSA will not have said this. I am sure have the correct story to tell. Without approval of end-user certification as issued by his office, no arms can lawfully enter Nigeria.
In these days of fake news, citizens including political parties pretending to the role opposition parties must be careful about the reports they work with. The PDP spent Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court. That is not to say that every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same.”