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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Coalition of CSOs demands forensic audit of defence budgets

A coalition of Civil Society Groups numbering over two hundred has called on the relevant anti-graft and law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to undertake a forensic audit of budgetary allocations to the security sector in the last seven years.

The coalition, which operates under the aegis of the National Coalition of Civil Society for Peace and Security wants the government to probe procurement processes, contract awards and the welfare of personnel and staff of the Defence sector.

The coalition made the request over the weekend in a statement issued and signed by its National Coordinator, Dr Umar Abdulkadir.

Abdulkadir said the investigation has become necessary following the huge investments in the nation’s security sector with little or no positive outcomes.

The group also asked that the probe be extended to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), as well as all former and current Service Chiefs from 2015 to date.

The statement read, “Our demand stems from the strong belief that so many investments have been made by way of budgetary interventions in the defence and security sector, but very little results are out there for the public to see and feel.

“Our expectations are that the anti-graft agencies will beam their searchlights on procurement processes, contract awards, personnel cost and other sundry budgetary considerations.

“The scrutiny, in our estimation, must be extended to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and the tenures of past and serving Service Chiefs that served during the period of probe we are proposing.

“It is our considered view that so little has come out of the huge investments made in the critical sector, hence the urgent need for a comprehensive and thorough examination of records of procurements, and others”.

He also noted that the investigation, if carried out, would ensure accountability for public funds and correct erroneous misconceptions about President Buhari’s handling of the security challenges.

“This is with a view to making people account for acts of misappropriation and misapplication of public funds, where infractions result.

“Among other things, it will help to situate issues in proper perspective, vindicate President Buhari, and pave the way for his positive placement in the annals of history and posterity”, he said.

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