Written by Ere-ebi AGEDAH

Anti-graft groups demand NASS action on ‘army stolen millions’

As the Nigerian Army keeps mum on the theft of a large amount of cash by soldiers on escort duty from Sokoto to Abuja, a coalition of anti-corruption groups have called on the National Assembly to probe the issue.

In a joint statement by anti-graft networks, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre/Transparency International Nigeria, CISLAC, they said Nigerians deserve to know the story behind the scandal that has caused so much embarrassment to the nation.

“We call on the National Assembly to probe this incidence. The House Committee on Defense needs to provide the necessary clue. There is no doubt that the action of these soldiers will have a serious impact on the campaign against terrorism.

“The Senate should get to the root of this matter before it is too late. If nothing is done, other soldiers on the frontline may be encouraged to embark of stealing of national assets,” Olanrewaju Suraju of HEDA and Anwalu Rafsanjani of CISLAC stated.

The organisations said the stealing of the money by soldiers who should represent a qualitative moral fabric of the country has raised serious questions about Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

They said that the theft indicated that the soldiers have no iota of discipline, adding that they have no respect for the president.

“They dared the consequences of the crime probably because they knew it was a trend in the armed forces. There is a major problem if security operatives have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,” the campaigners said.

The five soldiers accused of stealing the large cash have since been internally declared wanted by the Nigerian Army following the theft on July 11.

Anti-corruption experts said the development strengthens suspicions that Nigerian military chiefs were lining their pockets with funds meant to combat violent crimes, especially armed banditry and the Boko Haram insurgency, which has now entered its 10th year.

Both HEDA and CISLAC said getting to the roots of the huge cash transport and theft would be key to combating Nigeria’s multi-dimensional security challenges.

“We call on the National Assembly to treat this issue as a top priority. Who are these soldiers? How much was the money involved? Who owns the money? Is the money owned by an individual or by the country? Is the money the proceeds of crime? There are many questions waiting to be answered,” they said.

 

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