By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has been summoned by the House of Representatives.
The country’s chief banker was summoned by the lower chamber of the National Assembly to answer questions in connection with the $1 billion approved by the federal government a few years ago for the procurement of arms to fight insurgency.
The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria, wants the CBN chief to appear before it alongside the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, for grilling.
Yesterday, the duo was supposed to be before the committee with others to explain what happened with the money but they were absent.
This made the panel ask them to specifically appear to state what they know about the funds unfailingly on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
How FG approved $1bn for arms purchase
In April 2018, the federal government, worried that the military was complaining of inability to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast of Nigeria, approved the withdrawal of $1.0 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to procure arms.
The country’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kicked against this because it claimed the money would be embezzled.
Another reason for the opposition was because it was just less than a year to the 2019 general elections and it was speculated that the ruling party would use the funds mainly to campaign for re-election.
NSA latest comments
About two weeks ago, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, insinuated in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the money was squandered.
He claimed in the interview that the immediate past service chiefs could not account for the funds as there were no arms to show for the $1.0 billion approved by the government for the purchase of the military equipment.
However, he later recanted, claiming that the media quoted him out-of-context.
Reps wade in
In view of the reactions that trailed the NSA’s comments, the green chamber of the parliament mandated its ad-hoc committee to investigate how the funds were used.
This made the House of Reps summon the CBN Governor and the head of the army in Nigeria for explanations on what the money was used for. They were invited along with several other security agency heads and ministries.
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