A civil society group, Transparency Centre Network (TCN) has expressed worry over the inconclusive investigation of former Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Onyeabo Azubike Ihejirika, who was invited, interrogated and subsequently released by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a statement signed by the Deputy National Coordinator of Transparency Centre Network Comrade Wale Adegoke titled “anti- corruption inconclusive” stated that “Our attention has been drawn to the recent invitation extended to the former Army Chief bordering on questionable expenditures during his tenure as Chief of Army Staff.
According to Adegoke, the group feels concerned that in spite of the rigorous investigation process of the EFCC, a camel may have passed through its needle’s eye if the allegations and monumental evidence against Gen Ihejirika is anything to go by and his sudden appearance and exit from the offices of the Commission.
The statement added that “we intend to submit additional information indicting Gen Ihejirika on 12th March, 2018 to the headquarters of the EFCC and to follow up with a public procession in front of the commission to be tagged as occupy EFCC”. We are not going to allow the man can get away with all the monumental allegation against him and the Orwellian behavior of being more equal than others.
The group posited that we have keenly watched the unfolding scene surrounding the invitation of Gen Ihejirika and his speedy release by the EFCC in comparison with kind of treatment meted out by the same EFCC to some former service chiefs such Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar ex Chief of Air Staff, former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin former Chief Navy Staff and Marshal Alex Badeh former Chief of Defence Staff.
As such we urge the EFCC to once again, properly scrutinize overwhelming materials at its disposal submitted by several sources in relation to the inexcusable allegation that characterized his tenure as the Chief of Army Staff. This is to ensure the observance of principles of equality before the law and in order to prevent his escape from justice.
Adding that the weighty allegation of dereliction of duty against GenIhejirika led to low morale among troops in the front line fighting Boko Haram during his tenure as army boss complained about faulty supply of fighting equipment to soldiers and mismanagement of funds constitute serious breach of our laws and infringement of the Nigerian constitution.
We implore the EFCC, without reservation to carry out forensic audit of all recurrent expenditures authorized by him including contracts, supplies, purchase of armaments and capital projects executed under his watch.
The group equally stated we were scandalized that the rot witnessed during his tenure contributed to the nation’s image getting battered due to the poor performance of our soldiers in the north east theater even after he left office.
The statement further elaborated that we charge all Nigerians to be vigilant; if anti-corruption crusade must be fought and won, it is a task for us as citizens of Nigeria, to accomplish and not just something to be left for government, CCB, ICPC, EFCC officials and Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.