CIVIL Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC ) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the issue of corruption uncovered by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) regarding billions of naira and other items found at the home of a military contractor, K. Salam Construction Company.
Executive Director, CISLAC and Head of Transparency International (TI) Chapter in Nigeria, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani made the call in a statement .
Rafsanjani said that billions of naira cash alongside other luxurious items were reportedly uncovered during a recent raid at the home of a military contractor, by ICPC in Abuja.
He said that there was a need for the president to urge ICPC to fully dig deep and expose the true source and ownership of the recovered assets/items to ensure the perpetrators and their accomplices are judiciously prosecuted and adequately sanctioned.
He expressed concern over what he described as unattended corruption issues in procurement processes in Nigeria.
“While the nation’s defence spending has hitherto been buried in absolute secrecy and institutionalised corruption that impede efficient services and nation’s security,
” The fact-finding as detected by the anti-graft institution, has indeed validated the persistent public outcry by CISLAC/TI Nigeria for transparency and accountability in defence procurement and spending.
“We without doubt observed that the ongoing exposure is not unconnected to other entrenched symptoms of unquantified level of systemic corruption dominating defence procurement .
“This is also seen in spending like unaccounted funds as approved for the procurement of weapons and frequent denial by successive Security Chiefs of the existence of weapons,”
Rafsanjani said that the diversion of defence and security funds to private pockets through procurement process constituted a serious threat to Nigeria’s defence and security sector and services.
He added that it had left the security operatives ill-equipped, poorly-remunerated and demoralised in spite the persistently increased defence budgetary allocation and spending from 2011 to date.
He said that just as the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to make its spending public continued to frustrate effort by civil society groups and other well-meaning institutions to track the nation’s investment in the military and allied agencies.
” Consequently, Defence personnel and security operatives are rendered incapacitated from curbing violence, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.”
Rafsanjani said that other numerous high profile cases of corruption that were deliberately left unattended or granted with Presidential pardons; gave a clear indication of lop-sidedness and selective fight against corruption in the public sector.
He said that CSOs reiterated their position that defence corruption had done unforgivable damage to political stability, counter-terrorism efforts, socio-economic development and well-being of common Nigerians at all levels.
He said that the group also called on President Buhari to ensure that all reported high profile cases were accorded urgent priority to discourage corrupt practices in the defence and security sector.
He added that there was a need to build public confidence and a reputable foundation for incoming administration in 2023.
“We demand transparency and accountability in defence spending and targeted investigation by National Assembly into reported unaccounted spending on weapons.
“We further demand adequate legislative oversight by relevant committees in the National Assembly into the nation’s defence and security procurement and spending to restore efficiency, transparency and accountability into the sector,” he said .