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Arms procurement for military was done under specific individuals, call them to explain to you – COAS tells House of Reps

Valentine Chinyem

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The chief of army staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru has said that past army chiefs should be invited to explain arms procurement made during their tenure.

The army chief, while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee investigating the procurement of arms and ammunition for the Nigerian Army and paramilitary agencies in the country, said that an executive summary of all documents requested for by the committee had been provided.

He noted that all the documents are self-explanatory, directing the lawmakers to invite former chiefs for further details on the matter saying that he only came into office two months ago.

A member of the committee from Delta State, Hon Ejiro Ogene, during the proceedings frowned at the COAS explanation for not appearing before the committee.

According to him, the National Assembly is the house of the Nigerian people and everybody in public office works for Nigerians adding that the House speaks for the people.

“When we ask you to come, the people are the ones speaking, sovereignty lies in the people; if we see it like this, things will be different,’’ he said.

“I expect that the COAS tenders an apology, not an explanation; you are serving the people and they are as your employer,” he said.

Another member of the committee from Benue State, Hon Samson Okwu said that the House had taken pains to summon the president to appear and explain security issues.

“We have taken the pain to summon the president; we have seen how you command the troops in the theater of war but when we call you here, you should be civil.

“You should not be referring us to those who have left, you worked under all these people and we have powers to invite anybody,” he said.

A member from Imo State, Hon Bede Eke said that the lawmakers were out to partner with the military to find a solution to the insecurity in the country.

According to him, COAS cannot tell them how to do their work, adding that if they deem it fit to invite anybody, they would.

He moved that the documents brought by the COAS be presented under oath in line with parliamentary practices.

The lawmaker also said that the COAS should speak to the documents after which lawmakers will ask him question, as it is the tradition of the House.

However, as tensions were rising, chairman of the committee, Hon Olaide Akinremi ruled that hearing goes into a closed-door meeting and the media were asked to leave the hearing.