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$2.1bn arms cash: Ex-leaders, top monarchs, clerics among beneficiaries

There were indications on Thursday that former Nigerian leaders, traditional and religious leaders from across the country were listed as beneficiaries of the $2.1bn arms funds in the final report of the Presidential panel which probed military contracts from 2007 to 2015.

It was gathered that the report, which had been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommended the retrieval of undisclosed sums of money from some indicted persons, while in some cases, it recommended their prosecution.

A highly-placed security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said some former Heads of State, were listed as having received various sums of money from the Office of the National Security Adviser under  Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

The source added that a prominent northern traditional ruler was provided funds from the NSA’s office for the monarch’s coronation.

Giving further insights into what some of the funds were used for, the source explained that some were spent to pay the medical bills as well as travel expenses of some of the ex-leaders, who had to travel abroad to seek medical help for undisclosed aliments.

In one of the most notable cases, the report stated that the ONSA shouldered the cost of the medical trips of one of the ex-Heads of State to Germany.

The source added, “The list of beneficiaries from the ONSA under Col. Sambo Dasuki is very long.

“The list comprises very prominent Nigerians, including former Heads of State, many traditional rulers from the North and the South.

“Several religious leaders from the two dominant religions in the country also got funds from the ONSA.

“A former President of the country, who was sick, was flown out of the country to Germany for medical treatment. In fact, the former ONSA paid for the three trips the former leader made to Germany.”

It was learnt that the prosecution team was opposed to an open trial of Dasuki as this could result in disturbing revelations on how the $2.1bn under probe was disbursed.

The arms panel also established that the procurement processes adopted for the purchase of military hardware were arbitrarily and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud.

The highly-placed security official said the panel had interrogated some of the indicted officials, serving and retired officers, and some contractors.

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