Former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika is in the crosshairs of the United States as the U.S. is insisting that the former Army top gun be probed for alleged diversion of funds meant for the procurement of weapons and other warfare equipment meant for the army.
Gen. Ihejirika who is arguably one of the wealthiest retired Generals allegedly pocketed billions of naira meant for the Army.
James Entwistle, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, raised the issue when he met recently with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
Ambassador Entwisle at the meeting at the Presidential Villa, said the U.S. is particularly concerned about the sudden riches of Ihejirika. it will be recalled that Ihejirika who is the front-runner for the Abia state Governorship seat for the 2015 elections was fingered as one of the sponsors of Boko Haram by the Australian hostage negotiator, Davies.
The US Ambassador told Jonathan that the Americans who were in Nigeria to assist in the fight against insurgents were shocked to find out that what was on ground did not match the billions allocated under Ihejirika’s watch. In 2012 alone the defense budget for capital expenditure was N34.36 Billion with a whooping N5.71 Billion earmarked for the acquisition of equipment by the Army.
U.S. President Barack Obama or the Secretary of state, John Kerry is expected to discuss the issue with Jonathan at some close sessions during the United Nations General Assembly.
The alleged rot and high level corruption in the military, sources said, has affected the morale of the Americans who are in Nigeria as technical partners and advisers.
Entwistle, also told Jonathan, every top military officer should be held accountable if he wants the US to be part of the fight against insurgents. The high level corruption, contract inflation and purchase of obsolete equipment and arms cut across the three services.
This rot made Defence minister General Aliyu Gusau to insist that every contract or procurement must pass through his office. Curiously, this move did not go down well with the service chiefs who had hitherto enjoyed autonomy.
”The Americans want Ihejirika and his cohort probed." They are insisting that the Government must hold thieving Generals accountable if Nigeria wants them to be part of the fight against Boko Haram, our source gathered.
The Ambassador expressed his nations unhappiness with what Ihejirika did with the billions allocated to the Army. They are insisting he be probed.
“We all know he is one of the richest retired Generals around. He made billions that is why he wants to be Abia Governor,” our source said.
23rd September 2014