‘How We Spent Funds for Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tions,’ Bu­ratai Replies SERAP, Oth­ers

THISDAY - - NEWS EXTRA -

Chief of Army Staff of Nige­ria, Lt. Gen­eral Tukur Yusuf Bu­ratai, has re­sponded to the joint Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest by So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights and Ac­count­abil­ity Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough (EiE), and BudgIT re­quest­ing him to use his “good of­fices and lead­er­ship po­si­tion to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on spend­ing on mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions across the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in the North­east.”

This devel­op­ment was dis­closed yes­ter­day in a state­ment on be­half of the civil so­ci­ety groups by SERAP’s Se­nior Le­gal Ad­viser, Bamisope Adeyanju. Ac­cord­ing to her, “the bulky pho­to­graphic and tex­tual doc­u­men­ta­tion with a cover let­ter dated De­cem­ber 24, 2018 was de­liv­ered to SERAP’s of­fice last Fri­day by a mil­i­tary of­fi­cer at around 11.40 a.m.”

The let­ter with ref­er­ence num­ber AHQDCMA/G4/100/4 and signed on Bu­ratai’s be­half by Bri­gadier-Gen­eral S.B. Kuma­payi read in part: “The Nige­rian Army (NA) has in re­cent time come un­der un­re­lent­ing pub­lic scru­tiny by both pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als and Non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions over is­sues of ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds. The most re­cent be­ing a call from your or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Nige­rian Army to ex­plain how funds ap­pro­pri­ated for the NA un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Chief of Army Staff were utilised.”

“In view of the above, I am di­rected to for­ward the above-men­tioned doc­u­ment to your of­fice for your pe­rusal and re­ten­tion. Please ac­cept the es­teemed re­gards and as­sur­ance of the Chief of Army Staff.”

Adeyanju, on be­half of the civil so­ci­ety groups, said: “This is a joint FOI re­quest in­volv­ing EiE and BudgIT and not just SERAP. There­fore, our groups will care­fully study the let­ter and doc­u­men­ta­tion by Bu­ratai to see if de­tails of the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided meet the re­quire­ments of our re­quest and then promptly re­spond to him, as ap­pro­pri­ate.”

“While we as­cer­tain the level of com­pli­ance of the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided, we wel­come Bu­ratai’s demon­strated com­mit­ment to the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act by re­spond­ing to our re­quest, es­pe­cially at a time when high-rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­clud­ing the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment, Mr. Audu Og­beh and Min­is­ter of Power, Works and Hous­ing Ba­batunde Fashola con­tinue to ex­hibit bla­tant dis­re­gard for FOI re­quests by re­fus­ing to even ac­knowl­edge sev­eral of such re­quests.”

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