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Senator alleges fraud in Nigeria armed forces, demands probe

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A member of the Senate, representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, yesterday, alleged that fraud was rampant within the Nigerian armed forces and some paramilitary agencies, noting that the nation would not overcome insecurity if left unchecked.

The senator said the arms and ammunition being snatched from Nigerian soldiers by insurgents and the neglect of the defence industry, which is responsible for manufacturing war armaments, should be investigated.

Fadahunsi claimed that the military service chiefs prefer the importation of arms because of what they stand to gain from the exchange rates to the detriment of local manufacturing of guns and other weapons.

Speaking in Osogbo, Fadahunsi, who is a retired Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), lamented that the Federal Government appears not ready to probe the military. 

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He said the nation needed nothing less than one million soldiers and one million policemen to be able to ensure effective security, alleging that the war against insecurity was suffering setbacks because of fraud in the armed forces.

The lawmaker flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s Eid-el-Fitri remarks on security, adding: “I was surprised when I listened to the President. It is either he was not properly briefed or something must be wrong with his state of mind. Those service chiefs that were deceiving him had gone and the new ones are here.

“The state of insecurity is more alarming than what we are thinking about. Our problem is that the military is highly funded by General Buhari but not highly equipped and encouraged to fight. The military are not recruiting. Two hundred million people should have a military of not less than one million soldiers; then Police should not be less than one million if they really want to defend Nigeria. The intelligence unit should be working very well. 

“Unfortunately, the Federal Government is not ready to probe the activities of the military and the arms and ammunition being snatched. Generally, since the civil war, the Nigerian government has not probed the military’s armoury and the agents of government that are handling these armouries. 

“Nobody is smuggling arms and ammunition into the country again. What they are snatching from these boys (soldiers) is enough to kill people. And many boys are running away from the war front, from the services, not even military again and their guns are being dropped. 

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“Today, Nigerian government cannot manufacture a single bullet of AK-47. In 1963/64, the defence industry of the military was created by the Nigerian government to manufacture war armaments, small lighter weapons and to supply to services like Customs and Immigration. 

“China, India and Pakistan also created their own. Today, China is producing a watercraft; that is a war ship that can carry up to 20 fighter jets; America is the same thing. You know when America is ready to fight anybody; they will move the watercraft down to that place with their air striker jets. The same thing with Pakistan. What is Nigeria military defence industry doing? What we can produce is furniture. The military and service heads are only interested in procuring weapons abroad because of the exchange rate. Fraud is so rampant. I was in the service too, so I know what operates there.”

The Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, also decried the raiding of markets by Customs officers and warned that such trend might worsen killings of security agents.

He queried the rationale behind invasion of markets by armed Customs officers, saying: “Where did those smuggling rice into the country come in? There is no big smuggler that can go into Nigerian economy without Customs. If you (Customs) have allowed them at the borders, why going to the market to raid? Smugglers have killed many customs officers. This must stop.”

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