Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, Swimming In Troubled Waters | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, Swimming In Troubled Waters

Posted: Jul 3, 2016 at 4:51 am   /   by   /   comments (2)




Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has been one of the few Man Friday of President Muhammadu Buhari. Since his appointment as the army boss and the way he’s seen to go about his job, especially confronting the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, he enjoys a high rating not only before the government but the larger Nigerian populace. But all that is about to go up in flames. The recent revelation that linked Buratai to some choice properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has cast a slur on the image and integrity of the man believed to be the arrowhead of the major success so far recorded by the Buhari administration in the battle against terrorism in the country.

The latest scandal was revealed last week by a New York based online news medium Sahara Reporters, which gave a detailed information on how General Buratai bought choice properties in Dubai.

According to the report, the purchase of the property may have come from a vehicle contract scam while Buratai was the director of procurement at the Army Headquarters (HQ).

The information further revealed that Buratai’s two wives are listed as joint owners of the multimillion dollar homes. A group suspected that Buratai must have made the money before his appointment as COAS while he was Army’s procurement officer, a position with multi-billion nair budget. The online news medium suggested that the Army chief had executed huge contracts through proxies. Buratai was also alleged to have made some suspicious deposits in some Nigerian banks since his appointment as COAS July last year.

The allegation has triggered a lot of reactions among Nigerians especially lawyers who appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to resist the pressure of sweeping the matter under carpet. They described the clean bill on him as a charade.  Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, and  Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in his own reaction, slammed the government for defending Buratai.

The human rights lawyer said it was not the business of the Army to speak on the allegations against Buratai, adding that since public office requires public trust, the COAS should submit himself to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the anti-graft agencies to clear his name.

He said, “Buratai should willingly invite the CCB, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC to look into the matter.

“If Buratai was alleged to have unjustly purchased the houses, he has to come out to defend himself. He must show how the money used to purchase the houses was transferred.” Speaking on the development, activist lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa said the clean bill of health handed the army chief cast a slur on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“I believe it has exposed the hypocrisy of the Buhari administration as not fighting the war against corruption on a clean slate. They should have allowed the agencies of government such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to properly investigate (the matter).

On his part, former chairman of the Ikeja Branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani said the clearance was laughable. He, however, said Buratai’s clearance did not represent the position of government.

“How can they be the ones to clear him? Are they security agencies? If somebody is alleged to have committed a crime, can another agency that has no constitutional powers clear him? On what basis did they clear him? They should have allowed the EFCC to investigate the man. It sounds ridiculous. That cannot be clearance.” A group known as the Conference of Nigerian Civil Rights Activists (CNCRA) has called for the sack of the Chief of Army Staff.

The group’s spokesman, Ifeanyi Odili also said the continued stay of Buratai in office, is a slap on President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

However, Buratai  has described those behind the issue of the acquisition of two properties by his family in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, as defeated Boko Haram terrorist on migration to the nation’s cyberspace.

Buratai boasted that the alleged cyber terrorists would be defeated the same way their counterparts on land were defeated by the Nigerian Army under his leadership in the North East.

He said that the Army was already developing its cyber warriors to counter the nefarious intents of the terrorists on migration to the Internet and online media houses.

The Army Chief said that the Federal Government had already made clarifications on the issue of the properties in Dubai through a statement that was issued by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali on Monday.

The Defence Minister had said that the report on the properties was an attempt by some persons to distract the leadership of the Armed Forces from the successful prosecution of the heightened campaign against terrorism in the North East.

Dan-Ali who described the report as a campaign of calumny targeting the image of Buratai, explaining that the the Army Chief had declared the properties before the Code of Conduct Bureau which could be verified.

Buratai said that the Army would not be distracted by the antics of those behind the report in its efforts to ensure national security.

He stated also that the allegation that refurbished equipment were procured in the fight against the insurgents was part of the campaign of calumny masterminded by the cyber terrorists.

He said, “I am not supposed to comment on this because the Federal Government has already made a statement on that through the Ministry of Defence. But if you want my take on the issue, it is that we have already defeated the terrorists and the insurgents on the land, now they have migrated to the cyberspace, they have migrated to the Internet and other electronic media and so on.

“We want to assure them that these terrorists, the Boko Haram terrorists, who have migrated to the cyberspace, we will follow them to that cyberspace, and equally defeat them and clear their doubts.

“We are meeting all the terrorists in the cyberspace, we have defeated them in the battle ground. We are developing our own cyber warriors and we will defeat them as we have done in the North East.

“The issue of the refurbished equipment is still part of campaign of calumny. I refer you to the theatre commander. We are doing internal audit, they know my position. We will continue to do that. Definitely, the way we defeated them, we will defeat them in the cyber space.”

Even with the spirit defence from the Army and the Federal Government to wash the slur off Buratai, it does appear that those calling for the head of the Army boss are not letting up. How Buratai swims through the troubled waters and comes out clean is a matter for the future.

Comments (2)

  • Jul 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm AkalemeIkechukwu

    This tast for this government over anti corruption fight

  • Jul 3, 2016 at 7:00 am Jomitoye

    Abi it’s saraki,it won’t go well with buharis govt if saraki is not guilty and they are just bringing him down

Comments are closed.