Of the $1 billion approved by the National Assembly for the procurement of military equipment, $877 million has been released, The Nation has learnt.
There has been some controversy over the whereabouts of the money.
Immediately after the Metele, Borno State attacks on the military last month, the controversy got bigger. Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai said the military had not received such cash from the government to boost the anti-Boko Haram and other campaigns.
However, The Nation can confirm that $496,374,470 was released from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft from the United States. The payment has been made.
Besides, $380,513,958.71 was released (as first tranche) for the procurement of critical equipment for the Army, the Navy and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), a source said.
These releases along with other deductions may have contributed to the depletion of the ECA from $3.502 billion in January to $631 million in December 2018.
Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed attributed the “rapid” depletion of the ECA to payments made to the military as approved by the National Assembly.
A source in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) confirmed to The Nation that $876m had since been released to the military. But the source did not give the exact date when the payout was made.
A member of Senate Committee on Defence said it’s not aware of the released fund.
He spoke of how some members of the committee made inquiries, but were not told that part of the $1 billion had been released.
He said: “We are actually in the dark as far as the issue is concerned. It is an important issue. When the Chief of Army Staff said they had not received the money as approved by the National Assembly, some of us made enquiries.
“May be because of the security nature of the fund, the authorities may not want details of the releases to be known. We will definitely follow up, although it may not be for public consumption because of the security implications. We may have to invite relevant authorities to brief us.”