…Says $15bn Still Unaccounted For From Defence Sector Between 2000-2015
By Williams Anuku, Abuja
THE Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has accused security agents, especially the military high command of flouting the Freedom of Information Act, by failing to publish expenses they incur in tackling insecurity.
It argued that keeping such information classified and away from the public was an indirect means of fleecing the country of vital resources for development.
CISLAC bemoaned a situation where these huge budgetary allocations goes to the various security outfits, yet the onslaught of Boko Haram has continued unabated.
The call came on Wednesday, just as President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a new national security roadmap for the country at the Presidential Villa.
Both Jaye Gaskia, Col. Ademola Lawal (rtd) and Salaudeen Hashim who collectively addressed a press conference on behalf of CISLAC in Abuja, corroborated Transparency International(TI) which alleged that US $15billion quietly leaves Nigeria through the back door, a fact it noted buttresses the high level of corruption within the defence sector.
“CISLAC and its partners, local and international have found that unpublished defence budgets are still frequently abused by corrupt officials seeking to benefit from the conflicts with Boko Haram and oil theft in the Southern region and then launder stolen money abroad.
“Many deaths in the conflict have occurred while the military still lacks vital equipment, critical training and morale, even the Chief of Army Staff alluded to this recently.
“More spending does not mean more security, the defence sector is a juicy target for corrupt military leaders seeking to pad their pockets. Without increasing transparency and oversight of our most secret sector, we will not succeed in keeping Nigerian wealth in Nigeria, corruption in the defence sector has only expanded.
“With oil prices low and conflict at a high, defence has become the new diesel for Nigerian kleptocrats, taking on the defence sector was a bold move by President Buhari but efforts to bring the corrupt to justice are not enough, ambitious institutional anti-corruption reforms are needed to prevent the next US $15billion quietly leaving Nigeria through the back door, ”the group stressed.