FRESH explanations on the indictment of two for­mer Chiefs of Army Staff, Generals Azubuike Ihejiri­ka and Kenneth Minimah by the Committee on Au­dit of Defence Equipment in the armed Forces be­tween 2007 and 2015 have emerged.

A senior Army officer disclosed that the retired Army chiefs’ refusal to in­tervene or nip in the bud the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Niger Delta Aveng­ers (NDA) by working closely with the military may have angered the es­tablishment.

The officer did not how­ever disprove the allega­tion of malfeasance in the procurement of military equipment leveled against the duo.

There have been con­troversies over the exclu­sion of some former top military officers especially the incumbent minister of Internal Affairs, General Andulrahman Dambazau in the probe. The Federal Government was accused of trying to shield some individuals by engaging in selective probe

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed however, denied the alle­gation and pointed out in a statement that the inves­tigation spanned between 2010 and 2015. He insisted that there was no witch-hunt in the probe.

But the military officer who pleaded for anonym­ity claimed that Gener­als Ihejirika and Minima might have rebuffed en­treaties to identify and talk to some elders and other stakeholders in their regions believed to com­mand the respect of their subjects who are members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Ni­ger Delta Avengers, NDA, to lay down arms and em­brace dialogue.

He disclosed that the military, at the moment was yet to get clear intel­ligence on key individuals who are directly or remote­ly linked to the members of the groups, their bases and their modes of operations.

He revealed that both Ihejirika and Minimah had been informally ap­proached to assist through relatives and contacts in the two regions to intervene and furnish the authori­ties with more information about the groups.

“We wanted to know how to go about talking to them? Who are their lead­ers? Where are they based? What do they want? As soldiers, even though re­tired, how would they trust them?”

He further stressed, “In fact, they didn’t want to hear or have anything to do with any appeal to talk to anybody. Why would any­body even contemplate ap­proaching them for such an assignment?. They found that insulting. This position reportedly angered these intermediaries.”

Last week, a London based group -Freedom of Information Advocates Initiative, FOIAI, claimed the report on the defence equipment procurement re­leased by the investigating committee was tainted.

The statement, signed by Sharon Adoli-Lawrence, Acting Executive Director, FOIAI, queried the pro­priety of the chairman of the probe panel retired Air Vice Marshal John Odey to do a report that is widely considered a hatchet job.

He argued “Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Odey (Chairman of the Presi­dential Investigative Panel) was the Special Adviser (SA) to the then Minister of Defence, Major Gen Aliyu Gusau (rtd) 2014 – 2015 whose role was to superintend and advice his principal on issues relating to arms procurement and other related matters. It is not prudent for AVM John Odey to sit in judgment over a matter in which he was involved.”

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