President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for the arrest and trial of public servants and military officers indicted by the presidential panel probing the purchase of arms and ammunition worth N1.112 trillion has thrown fear and panic into former service chiefs who served in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to informed security sources, the response made by the embattled ex-national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd), to the order has also compounded their problem as Dasuki gave away some of their names as witnesses to prove his innocence.
According to a security source, the response made by Dasuki may have pushed them into a dilemma as they are awaiting what befall them as events unfold.
“I can confirm it on good authority that the ex-service chiefs have been calling some top military officers, trying to find out the level of their involvement in the committee’s findings, and most have reached out to the current NSA, pleading to return some of the alleged missing funds to avoid the president’s sledge hammer as well as prosecution.
“I am aware that some of these former (service) chiefs are away from the country for now. Shortly after their retirements, they relocated abroad at least to rest but what is happening now must have thrown them into a panic because they know deep down in their hearts that the performance of our troops under their watch was unacceptable to the Commander-in-Chief (Buhari) right from the electioneering days. I was shocked at reading the statement issued by Dasuki and that has pitched them against the president,” the source said.
“Whoever is indicted by the panel among them, or whose name was mentioned in Dasuki’s response, would be in a dilemma now, whether to clear himself or keep silent until he is summoned.”
Speaking in the same vein, another top military officer said, “The on-going probe may consume those who played one role or the other in all the contracts awarded. I am aware all the contracts for the purchase of the arms and other equipment got the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan but they were all handled by the Office of the National Security Adviser. Whatever happens in the court will show whether due process was followed or not on Dasuki’s watch.”
A middle-level officer expressed disappointment in how fine and hardworking officers and men “lost their lives or commissions in the ongoing war against terror over poor ammunition. I remember our days in Maiduguri; it was God that saved us. Whoever is indicted must be sanctioned as deterrence.”
Buhari had on Tuesday given a directive that all indicted persons be arrested and brought to book, when he received the interim report of the 13-man committee set up by the Office of the NSA to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date,.
According to a statement issued by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the NSA during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was one of those indicted in the report.