The Olowu of Kuta, HRM Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama Tegbosun III, has debunked the widely-spread rumours that the former Service Chiefs embezzled the $1bn special security funds released to the Armed Forces by the Federal Government in 2017.
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The monarch made the clarification while speaking during an interview in his palace in Osun State.
Oba Tegbosun, who debunked the reports that the former Service Chiefs got a portion from arms procurement funds, said the money was approved during the tenure of former Minister of Defence but only released during the tenure of the present Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd).
The Osun monarch said,
“The $1bn from the ECA account as approved by the Senate, did not reach the Service Chiefs. Federal Government told us, the money is not missing but the money was not given to Service Chiefs.
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“The former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, may his soul rest in perfect peace, during his appearance at the National Assembly, has not gotten his records straight. The Minister of Defence spent the money on behalf of the Armed forces . The minister should have spoken and clear the air because the record needs to be put straight. We need to put the records straight and factual so that we’ll not be laying blame as expected.
“The Minister of Defence, a gentleman, should have come out that the money was approved during the time of Monsur Dan Ali, the former Minister of Defence from Kebbi State.
“But the release of the money happened during the regime of the present Minister, Gen Bashr Magashi and spent by the ministry for what it is meant for through all the normal due process. None of these spendings went through Buratai,Sadiq or Ibas.
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“The Minister of Defence used the money for procurement of equipments and arms, some were done from government to government. Some equipment were procured in China, that is why when Monguno was talking to BBC Hausa Service that money has been given, we didn’t see equipments, I viewed it a total embarrassment to the Federal Government.”
Oba Tegbosun further stated, “None of that arms fund get to the Chief of Army Staff or Chief of Naval nor Chief of Air Staff. That billion dollars approved did not get to them but they started receiving some of the equipments.
“The Minister of Defence authorised the spending and procured the equipments and gave them to the Army. Some have been delivered while some have not been delivered because this is not like you are going to the open market and buy something on the floor.
Some could be manufactured to your specification and it takes time. That is why the Federal Government said the money did get lost. The loss of the money was fake news,” the monarch stated.
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He, therefore, blamed the minister who had remained silent on the reports.
The Olowu of Kuta, while speaking on the ambassadorial appointment of former Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari said, “Because the President know what you and I don’t know. The President knew that these people have put in their best for this nation.”
“These people have reformed the military. The military need our total support and we need to give them. The present Chief of Army Staff needs our support to succeed.
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“So, given ambassadorial position to the former Service Chiefs means they still have a lot to offer for the progress of Nigeria. The country still needs to tap from their wealth of experience as they remain a great asset to the nation.”
Kabiyesi concluded ” it is not too late for the Minister of Defence to speak out and let Nigerians know that he authourised the spendings of the arms funds not the former Service Chiefs, rather than the conspiracy of silence that is brewing fake news.
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