According to a report by an online media, President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 withdrew approval for Babagana Monguno, the national security adviser (NSA), to buy arms worth $2.51 billion from UAE in because the would-be suppliers are commission agents.
The president’s withdrawal of consent came after Abba Kyari, the late chief of staff, noted the anomalies in the contract signed by Monguno on March 27, 2017 with the International Golden Group (IGG), the Abu Dhabi-based arms suppliers.
similarly, a N14 billion mark-up in an equipment purchase contract for the police by the office of the NSA in 2019 was also noticed.
Subsequently, Buhari directed that henceforth, only the ministry of police affairs and the ministry of defence should be involved in arms procurement.
That incident effectively ended the involvement of the office of NSA in the process, a development believed to have affected his relationship with the president and service chiefs.
Just recently, the NSA raised a false alarm that the money approved for arms under the former service chiefs “is gone”.
However, sources close to the presidency claim that Monguno does not have the kind of power and influence wielded by previous NSAs and looks increasingly isolated in the scheme of things.
Presidency officials in the know of the aborted arms deal said that Buhari had earlier instructed that no third parties or agents should be involved in arms purchase, maintaining that it must be a country-to-country transaction.
This is to make the contracts cheaper and protect the country from buying substandard arms and ammunition, he said.
In a letter dated April 5, 2017, Monguno had sought Buhari’s approval to pay $627 million “within eight days” to IGG as the 25 percent deposit for the supply of arms, ammunition and equipment to Nigerian armed forces.
Monguno, a retired major general and former commander of brigade of guards, also requested that the payment should be made from the excess crude account (ECA).
The only document the NSA attached to the letter was an IGG invoice, which did not carry any address or even the name of the signatory.Advertisement
It only had IGG’s account details at First Gulf Bank in the UAE as well as the amount to be paid.