The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed optimism that in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s zero tolerance for corruption, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Yusuf Tukur Buratai will quickly reorganize the finance department of the Army.
This will ensure that no General Officer Commanding any of the divisions or indeed any officer of the military could have access to huge amounts of money at any given time without effective checks and balances.
Also, the rights group has tasked the Army’s high command to hand over the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division Sokoto, Major General Hakeem Otiki to the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFFCC) for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation to be carried out on the reported theft of #400 million by escorts delegated by the GOC.
“We expect that the reported disappearance of such a humongous cash belonging to the country purportedly meant for the counter insurgency war, is handled independently in line with established precedence set by the current chief of Army staff who had indeed handed over several Generals to the EFCC in the past in connection with the alleged diversion of resources budgeted for the prosecution of the counter terrorism war”, it declared in a statement.
HURIWA also charged the Army Chief to use his good offices to introduce stringent measures which will further tighten the ways cash transactions are done “so it would be easier to prevent this kind of scandal that reportedly occurred in Sokoto which has brought enormous opprobrium on the global image of the country.”a
The statement read in part: “It is certainly not enough to detain the said military General in a military facility and certainly it is insufficient to rely only on internal mechanisms to unravel the circumstances surrounding the reported disappearance of such a huge amount of cash. The most logical thing to do is to also invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC to provide forensic investigative skills to uncover the truth behind the extensively damaging scam and to enforce the relevant anti-economic crimes’ law where necessary even as the indicted persons must be afforded the opportunities for fair hearing in line with section 36(5) of the Constitution”.
The group stated that from media sources, the officer who was redeployed to the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), is currently being detained at the Officers Mess where he is being guarded by heavily armed soldiers and may be moved to Abuja soon.
When finally in Abuja, he is expected to be grilled by personnel from the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), and Nigerian Army Corps of Military Police (NACMP).
Quoting media reports, HURIWA stated that it will be the standard practice to bring all persons implicated in this scandal to justice going by the report that the so-called VIP, allegedly being escorted by the soldiers who happens to be the younger brother of the former GOC, may have actually connived with the soldiers to steal the N400 million as he is nowhere to be found.