President Buhari promises that his administration has plan to sanitize the purchase of the Nigeria Military weapons procedure, which went crazy in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He said his administration would urgently restore order, due process and probity in the procurement.
He spoke during a meeting with British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
President Buhari noted that “They just put foreign exchange in a briefcase and travelled to procure equipment for the military.”
He added: “That is why we have found ourselves in the crisis we are now facing.”
Not less than $15million belonging to Nigeria was seized in two installments by South African government in September and October last year.
Monies meant for arms procurement were taken illegally into that country. On September 5, 2014, when border authorities seized $9.3 million allegedly meant for the procurement of arms from two Nigerians and an Israeli who arrived the country in a private jet linked to the leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The money stashed in three suitcases was discovered by customs officers according to South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The NPA said it found an invoice for a helicopter and armaments meant for Nigeria with the suspects.
A month later in October, South African authorities seized another $5.7 million transferred by Societe D’Equipments Internationale of Nigeria to South African arms company, Cerberus Risk Solutions, for the procurement of arms.
South African investigators said as at the time the deal was signed, Cerberus Risk Solutions’ license to deal in arms had expired.
Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki and some others are on trial for allegedly mismanaging and misapplying the fund meant for arms procurement.
President Buhari also welcomed the offer by the British Government to assist Nigeria in defence procurements, intelligence gathering and training while restating his conviction that the international community must collaborate more and work with greater unity of purpose to overcome global terrorism.
President Buhari said: “Terrorism has become very sophisticated now. If developed nations can be attacked and hundreds of lives lost; how much more developing countries?
“In the West African sub-region, Nigeria is the main battleground of the Boko Haram insurgency. We have made a lot of progress against the terrorists, but we will welcome more assistance from our friends and the international community”.
Fallon said he was in the country to see what more Britain could do to support Nigeria in battling terrorism and violent extremism.
“Groups like Boko Haram don’t believe in democracy and freedom of choice, so it’s a common fight for us all,” he told President Buhari.
Britain, he added, will next year increase the number of its personnel training the Nigerian Army to 300 from 130.
Speaking to reporters at the Villa, Fallon said: “We discussed what we can do to help Nigeria to deal with this country’s insurgency. Britain and Nigeria have democracy, they are free people. Boko Haram and its way of life need to be defeated.
“So, we have been discussing today what probably we can do to step up Nigeria in the area of full training on how to deal with improvised explosive devices … and what can be done to improve the intelligence you need to deal with terrorism.
“For this year, for example, we have about 130 military personnel here helping to train the Nigerian Army. Next year, more than double, more than 300 are coming to offer training and particularly to improve the army’s resilience to IEDs, obviously, that have been left behind by Boko Haram.”
On rehabilitation, he said: “Yes, we want to do more to help stabilise those areas once the terrorists have been driven out. That means sustaining them with not only rehabilitation but economic development, providing security for this place for them to go back to their villages, with the knowledge that they need to be protected and the infrastructure there to be repaired.
“Today’s visit is part of a series of visits. Our Chief of Defence Staff was here recently, our Deputy National Security Adviser was here. And the President and I are aware both have to do with this kind of terrorism facing our countries.
“So he has welcomed our offer of support to help to clear the terrorists out of the North East of Nigeria. And we are going to be working together … as well as on a wider issues of stabilisation and economic development of these areas, providing long-term security,” he said.
Minister of Defence Monsur Dan-Ali said there was increased cooperation between the two countries in training.
He noted that the issue of IEDs is one of the most difficult areas in the fight against terrorism.
On whether terrorism has come to stay in Nigeria, he said: “No, no, no, remember in Afghanistan, Iraq, it took some time. So we are on it and we are almost there.
Asked whether there would be extension of the defeat of Boko Haram beyond December deadline, he said: “Time line is for those in the military. We gave December time line, but December is not the end of the operation. It is a campaign. Campaign lasts for years, not dates.”