Members of the House of Representatives have asked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, to explain how weapons purchased for the military and police end up in the hands of bandits and miscreants.
The House 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 sat yesterday.
Invited to face the committee on the issue were Attahiru and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin EmAttahiru sent a representative, Major General C. Ofuche, but this was rejected by members of the committee led by Prince Olaide.
Members of the committee said the issue was a serious and sensitive one and needed the COAS to address them in person.
Rep Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu from Sokoto State said Attahiru had to appear in person to explain how weapons bought for the military and police ended up in the hands of bandits.
“Some of them can be traced back to the very military or police. It is a serious issue and the National Assembly is well positioned to dig deep into the root of this issue and find solutions.
“As moved by my colleague there is need for a motion to allow the COAS come and make his submissions personally to this committee. “In line with the position of the previous speakers, I want to reiterate that this is a very serious and sensitive security matter.
‘At least let us see the man. Being that this is the first meeting with the Nigerian Army, the accounting officer of the Army should have appeared to give us his account, his position as far as the communications made to him.
“For the chairman and secretariat there is no communication before that the COAS is having another schedule that may not allow him to be physically present here. That is a contravention to section 88, section 89 subsection 1, and of course section one of the Armed Forces Act 1994. So we are not witch-hunting but telling you what the law says,” he said
Other representatives, including Kabiru Idris (Kano), Bede Eke (Imo), and Ifeanyi Chudy Momah (Anambra), who spoke insisted that the COAS must appear before them physically.
They noted that there was no official communication to the committee on why he could not make it.