The Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has given his advice to President Muhammadu Buhari imploring him to tread cautiously on his recent directive to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe 17 former and serving top officers of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force over alleged involvement in the $2.1 billion arms deal scandal.
President Buhari had on the recommendation of the committee he established to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to 2015, on Friday, also directed the anti-graft agency to probe 21 companies in relation to the arms deal scandal.
Governor Fayose, who reacted to President Buhari’s order for the affected officials, prominent among them the immediate Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabunduh Badeh, to appear before the EFCC from Monday, said the military officers ought to have been probed in accordance with the armed forces rules of engagement and not by subordinate police officers of the EFCC.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, reiterated his support for the fight against corruption.
Mr. Fayose, who dismissed the $2.1 billion arms deal as a scam, noted that “all they are just doing is to brandish figures to deceive Nigerians and demonize the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and those opposed to his dictatorship in the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“Till today, the amount they have charged people for stealing is not up to N10 billion and $2.1 billion they claimed was stolen is about N600 billion.
“The president must let Nigerians see where the arms deal is in the 2015 Budget and publish details of the imaginary $2.1 billion scam. Also, the President must tell Nigerians how his friend, Jafaru Isa was able to return N100 million to the EFCC within three days because there are insinuations that the N100 million refunded came from the Presidency”.
Governor Fayose said it was strange for serving military generals to be interrogated by junior police officers, adding that “The president should not act in a way that he will be perceived as ridiculing the armed forces”.
He said: “Even though I am not a military officer, but I know that there is what us called orderly room trial or court martial, which military men who erred in the performance of their duties are made to go through. It is until they are found guilty and probably dismissed that they are made to face court trial.
“In this case, how does it feel for a serving Military General to be interrogated by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP)?
“I think we should not destroy our democratic institutions, especially the judiciary and the armed forces because we are fighting corruption.
“Already, the President has ridiculed the judiciary by disobeying the courts and coming on television to say that orders of the court do not hold waters. He is also destroying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by turning it to commission for inconclusive elections. He should not ridicule the military, and men of goodwill should advise the President to tread cautiously.