UPDATE 2-Nigeria’s Buhari orders arrest of former security adviser for graft – Reuters


(Adds Dasuki’s statement)

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA Nov 18 Nigerian President Muhammadu
Buhari has ordered the arrest of the former national security
adviser, accusing him of stealing about $2 billion through
phantom arms contracts and hampering the fight against Boko
Haram militants, his office said.

The arrest order is part of a campaign by Buhari, who was
elected in March, to tackle corruption that has enriched an
elite but left most Nigerians in poverty.

Buhari’s office said former security adviser Sambo Dasuki
had “awarded fictitious and phantom contracts” worth around $2
billion for jets, helicopters and ammunition for the army to
fight the jihadist Boko Haram group which were never delivered.

Dasuki had also instructed the central bank to transfer more
than $140 million to accounts in Britain, the United States and
West Africa “without any contract documents”, the statement from
the presidency said.

Under Buhari’s predecessor Goodluck Jonathan, when Dasuki
was in office, Boko Haram took control of parts of Nigeria’s
northeast where it is trying to carve out an Islamic state.

“Had the funds siphoned … been properly used for the
purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian
deaths would have been avoided,” the presidency said late on
Tuesday.

Dasuki, who lives in the capital Abuja, rejected the claims,
saying there had been no fictitious contracts and no money
diverted. “I did not use the office for any self-serving
agenda,” he said in a statement.

Arms procurement was supposed to be under the purview of the
Defence Ministry but its inability to deliver prompted Jonathan
to shift the task to the National Security Adviser in September
last year. Normally the NSA only advises on procurement.

Military sources complained they were given little notice or
say in what they needed and had to be creative with whatever
equipment arrived.

Nigeria had to seek arms from a wide range of eastern
European and Asian countries as some Western states, where
equipment was sought previously, were concerned with human
rights abuses.

Large orders finally arrived early this year and were key in
turning around the fight against Boko Haram, according to
diplomats.

This year, Nigeria, backed by its neighbours, was able to
recapture much of the territory lost to Boko Haram though
suicide bombings and other attacks blamed by officials on the
militant group remain part of daily life in the north.

Boko Haram has waged a six-year campaign which has killed
thousands of people and displaced 2.1 million.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah and Ulf Laessing, Additional
reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Dominic
Evans)

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