NSA Monguno Organized ‘Fashion Show’ While $1bn Arms Funds ‘Missing’ – Prof Yusuf

Reactions have continued to trail the recent shocking revelation by the National Security Adviser (NSA) that the $1 billion released in 2018 for procurement of military equipment to fight insurgency had gone missing.

The NSA, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, who made the revelation in an interview with the BBC Hausa service, had turned back to claim that he was misquoted after the explosive interview spread like wildfire.

“…the new Service Chiefs have confirmed to us that they didn’t see where the new weapons were purchased in their handing over. Apparently, the money is missing, and we must investigate,” Monguno, a retired military general, had told BBC Hausa.

Professor Usman Yusuf, former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, has described the NSA’s revelation as “déjà vu all over again”.

The country had experienced a similar situation under the previous administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, where $2.1 billion approved for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency was allegedly embezzled through the office of the National Security Adviser.

Yusuf said in over five years as NSA, Monguno had occupied himself with organizing press conferences that amounted to nothing but “fashion show”.

“I have followed the NSA closely in the last two years due to worsening insecurity particularly in the Northwest and central parts of the country. As the Administration’s point man on national security, he briefs the nation after each security council meeting which oftentimes happens after a massacre, a school abduction, riot or any of the many security challenges bedevilling this country,” Professor Yusuf said in an opinion piece.

“The NSA’s press conferences are part fashion show, part demonstration of his mastery of the English language, full of excuses for the failures of this government to protect its citizens and a lot of unfulfilled promises. He is usually dressed immaculately in an ultimate bespoke suit from Savile Row with a beautiful silk tie and pocket handkerchief to match.”

The professor regretted that Monguno was just finding out that the $1 billion allocated for the purchase of arms about three years ago had allegedly been misappropriated.

He said the NSA’s claim of being misquoted in the BBC Hausa was only an afterthought, adding that his choice of the news medium for the interview, “might not have been accidental but strategic because it is no secret that President Buhari is an avid listener since his days as a young military officer. Even bandits in the forests listen to this station.”

The professor recalled that the NSA had also threatened, “fire and brimstone on those he called beneficiaries of insecurity in Nigeria who he said are on a government watch list.”

Yusuf further noted that, “Gen. Monguno as is well known, is Kanuri from Monguno in Borno state but he speaks Hausa better than a native, in fact his Hausa is better than his Kanuri or English,” and as such couldn’t have misspoken due to poor understanding of Hausa language.

He said the revelation, “was a bombshell coming from no less a person than the NSA who at the beginning of this Administration was tasked with the responsibility of constituting a Presidential Panel to investigate similar infraction by the previous administration. His allegation has undoubtedly done an irreparable damage to this government’s anti-corruption stance nationally and internationally.”

Yusuf added that, “The NSA’s revelation is a chilling confirmation that the former Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai knew something we didn’t know when in December 1, 2020, he was quoted to have said that “There is likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years”.

The professor also blamed the National Assembly for failing to carry out its oversight function to ensure that all funds it appropriates to all the arms of government were accounted for,” adding that, “With an empty armoury and treasury, it will be foolhardy to expect quick and successful resolution of insecurity in Nigeria.”

He further recommended that President Buhari should sack the NSA and “direct full investigation into this matter because it will remain an inescapable moral burden and a dark cloud on his Administration.”

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