The allegation by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis that former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika is one of the front line sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents group may have drawn the attention of the United States Government.
Abusidiqu have learnt that the United States is insisting that the former army top gun be probed for alleged diversion of funds meant for the procurement of weapons and other warfare equipment meant for the army.
There have been pockets of grumbling amongst the army rank and file over obsolete and sometimes lack of top shelf weapons. This boiled over when some soldiers mutinied against a General. Those soldiers were court martialed and sentenced to death.
The lack of weapons and other military welfare have been sighted as the inability of the army to properly prosecute the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents who until recent times have escalated their violence campaign against the Nigerian state.
Sources hinted that Ihejirika who arguably one of the wealthiest retired Generals allegedly pocketed billions of naira meant for the Army. He is now the front-runner for the Abia state Gover?norship seat where a large part of the fund he allegedly embezzled would be channeled to.
A source said the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle raised the issue of Ihejirika facing probe when he met recently with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
Ambassador Entwisle at the meeting at the Presidential Villa, said the U.S is particularly concerned about the sudden riches of Ihejirika.
The US Ambassador told Jonathan that the Americans who were in Nigeria to assist in the fight against insurgents were shocked to find out that what was on ground did not match the
billions allocated under Ihejirika’s watch.
In 2012 alone the defence budget for capital expenditure was N34.36 Billion? with a whooping N5.71 Billion earmarked for the acquisition of equipment by the Army.
U.S President Barack Obama or the Secretary of state, John Kerry is expected to discuss the issue with Jonathan at some close sessions during the United Nations General Assembly.
The alleged rot and high level corruption in the military, sources said, has affected the morale of the Americans who here as technical partners and advisers.
Entwistle, it was learnt told Jonathan, every top military officer should be held accountable if he wants the US to be part of the fight against insurgents.
It was also gathered that the high level corruption, contract inflation and purchase of obsolete equipment and arms cut across the three services.
This rot made Defence minister General Aliyu Gusau to insist that every contract or procurement must pass through his office. Curiously, this move did not go down well with the service chiefs who had hitherto enjoyed autonomy.
Said our source ” the Americans want Ihejirika and his cohort probed. They are insisting that the Government must hold thieving Generals accountable if Nigeria wants them to be part of the fight against Boko Haram”
“The Ambassador expressed his nations unhappiness with what Ihejirika did with the billions allocated to the Army. They are insisting he be probed.
We all know he is one of the riche retired Generals? around. He made billions that is why he wants to be Abia Governor,” said our source
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