Thursday, 8th June 2023

Government CNPP trade tackles over alleged indictment of NSA, EFCC boss

By Saxone Akhaine, (Northern Bureau Chief, Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar and Tsorka Karls (Abuja)
24 June 2016   |   4:16 am
Officials of the opposition, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), have asked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Mohammed Babagana Monguno rtd to resign over alleged shady dealings...
EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu

EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu

• Parties coalition want Monguno, Magu to quit
• Govt uncovers plots to discredit ONSA over N116b fraud

Officials of the opposition, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), have asked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Mohammed Babagana Monguno rtd to resign over alleged shady dealings, at the Presidential Investigative Committee on Arms Procurement which he headed. CNPP said the indictment and arrest of a member of the committee by the Department of State Services (DSS) was enough groung for which he should vacate his office.

CNPP threatened that if the NSA refuses to vacate his position within seven days, the opposition parties in the country may prompt nationwide protests against him.

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, similarly came under hard knocks as he was also asked to resign his position within the same time-frame over an alleged indictment by the DSS.

However, the Federal Government yesterday said it has uncovered a grand plan to discredit the Office of the NSA (ONSA) as part of the plot to discredit the findings of investigations into the alleged arms purchase for which some key actors of the previous administration are facing charges.

The government alleged a co-ordinated media campaign of calumny against Monguno by some faceless individuals and interest groups as a pointer to the fact that some people are not comfortable with the revelations coming out of the investigations, which was headed by him.

But the government believes the campaigns were aimed at blackmailing President Muhammadu Buhari from taking action on the recommendations of the Monguno-led investigative panel, but noted that it would not be deterred from ensuring that it cleanses the system of large scale corruption.

The CNPP, in a statement yesterday, by its National Chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, explained that it was not possible that Air Commodore Umar Muhammed (rtd), who was arrested by the DSS for alleged fraudulent deals involving top government officials, could have acted without Monguno’s involvement.

The statement stressed; “Claiming ignorance of the dirty deals implies the National Security Adviser was lax in finding out what went on under his watch, which is worse than being part of the massive theft.

“The same offence that the entire country is crucifying the former NSA, retired Colonel SamboDasuki for has been committed all over again by Monguno as the incumbent and that Nigerians must not be tolerant of such crime.”

The CNPP statement warned that Nigerians and the international community are watching to see that the DSS makes the findings from its investigations public while actions must be taken against those indicted.

Ezugwu argued: “A situation where the Office of the NSA and the EFCC arrest and recover money from corrupt persons only turn around and steal the recovered amounts was horrifying. This is why indicted people are subsequently cleared by the same agencies that indicted them without the benefit of being tried in the law courts and this is no longer acceptable. The anti-corruption fight does not require lip service at this time that Nigerians are feeling the pains of the damage done by corruption.

“This is why we are demanding that Mohammed Monguno and the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu must resign. Distancing themselves from the fraud uncovered by the DSS was not enough. They must also stop chanting the cliché of corruption is fighting. Since the EFCC and ONSA were both mentioned in the report about the arrest of Air Commodore Umar Muhammed (rtd) the onus is now on Monguno and Magu to do the right thing by standing down to allow for unhindered investigation”.

According to the CNPP, Buhari must by now recognise the threat to the credibility of his anti-corruption fight with the conflict of interest around his NSA and Magu.

“Mr. President cannot carry on as if what Nigerians think does not matter as they are waiting for him to repeat the Dasuki treatment with all those indicted on the committee. If these two men and their accomplices are not immediately sacked and prosecuted we shall lead Nigerians in their thousands in street protests because it will imply we have been defrauded with the anti-corruption fight.”

The government alleged that senior officers in the military as well as some top contractors in the country indicted in the multi-billion contract fraud in the office of the NSA have perfected plans to discredit Monguno through paid adverts in selected national dailies as well as through well coordinated and funded campaign of calumny in online news platforms in the country.

A fortnight ago, a sample of the campaign signed by some ‘faceless individuals’ surfaced in one of the nation’s dallies accusing the NSA, Monguno of negligence in top security matters in the country.

Wednesday, the CNPP, a coalition of registered political parties in Nigeria in a signed statement gave Monguno a seven-day ultimatum to step down from the position, or they would react appropriately.

A top Presidency source said the aim of the negative campaigns against the NSA “is to blackmail President Buhari into sacking the NSA from his job and halting the fraud investigations of security contracts.”

It was also gathered that some top level military personnel are unhappy with the way the NSA handled the issues affecting serving and retired military officers in the messy ONSA contracts and arms investigations.

According to the source, who pleaded not to be named, “some officers both serving and retired are not happy with the way Gen Monguno handled the issues of military personnel in the arms deal as well as the fraudulent contracts in his office by the previous regime. 

“They believe that the NSA should have handled the issues in a military way and not the public embarrassment they are getting now. And I can tell you that they won’t stop at nothing to bring him down. These are very powerful people with influence and money.”

It would be recalled that the Federal Government through a preliminary investigations implicated about 300 companies in an N116 billion contract fraud in the Office of the National Security Adviser during the last government.

The indicted companies according to the Presidential Committee were to refund N41 billion while investigating agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), were directed to determine whether another N75 billion should be recovered from some of the companies.