The Presidency on Monday, dismissed allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the one billion dollars drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was spent by the Muhammadu Buhari administration on the 2019 general elections.
The PDP in a statement on Sunday asked Buhari to explain to Nigerians what his administration had done with one billion dollars drawn from the ECA in 2017 and meant to address the nation’s security challenges. The amount was approved by the National Economic Council, to be used to purchase weapons to fight insurgency across the country.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP drew the attention of Nigerians to “the shocking confession by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd), that he was not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1billion drawn from the ECA by the Buhari presidency in 2017 for security purposes.”
According to the PDP, “the confession by the NSA, who coordinates the security architecture of the nation, directly places a huge burden on President Buhari’s doorsteps over reported stealing and diversion of funds meant for security, while insurgency, banditry, killings, and kidnapping fester in the land on his watch.”
The statement further claimed that the revelation by the NSA vindicated the PDP on its initial alarm that “the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration is overtly corrupt, deceptive and unreliable in the handling of the affairs of our nation. It further validates the stance of the PDP that agents of the Buhari Presidency and the APC are hiding under the guise of security to siphon the $1billion from the ECA. This, perhaps, informed the desperation by the cabal to draw from the account without recourse to statutory due process of appropriation by the National Assembly, “the opposition party said.
The statement further reads: “From Gen. Mongunu’s confession, Nigerians can further see why our nation is daily confronted with disturbing videos and reports of our fighting troops protesting their neglect and inadequate equipping, leading to their vulnerability in the fronts.” The PDP said that already, there were allegations in the public space that certain funds meant for security were diverted for the 2019 election campaign of the APC while the nation’s troops languished in the front.
The PDP restated its demand that President Buhari should allow for a system-wide investigation into the whereabouts of the $1billion, as well as the handling of other funds meant for security purposes in his administration. “Furthermore, the PDP invites Nigerians to note that such diversion of funds under the Buhari administration led to the articulation of a blueprint by Atiku Abubakar for a transparent system that eliminates siphoning of funds, particularly in our critical sectors,” the statement said.
However, Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said “this unverifiable allegation’’ clearly indicated that the PDP was suffering from socio emotional distress. He said PDP “thinks that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own. Here is what happened to that 1,000 million dollars. It’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about 490 million dollars for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with the government of the United States.
”Various other military procurements have been made. The balance of expenditure stands at about 880 million dollars or so. The PDP spent Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court. That is not to say every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same.” The presidential aide added that, barring considerations of national security, the details of the stage of implementation, the procurements made and the suppliers will be obtained and made available on Monday.