Forum wants Air Chief Abubakar explain N15b personnel surplus, says allegation beyond Badeh
Dangiwa Aboki, Abuja
Justice Forum, Abuja, said its attention has been drawn to the evidence by Air Commodore Salisu Yushau, a one-time Director of Finance in the Nigeria Air Force, in the on-going trial of retired Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh before a Federal High Court for alleged money laundering.
The President of the Forum, Mallam Fancies About in a statement categorically stated that the forum is mindful of the fact that the witness (Air Commodore Yushau) is yet to be cross examined by the defence as to the veracity of his claims and so his claims do not in any way mean an indictment of retired Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
The statement read, “Considering the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari government, we demand as a matter of urgency from the present Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, an account of what has been doing with the difference between the “actual” wage bill of the Nigeria Air Force and the over 1.7 billion naira reportedly padded , as claimed by Air Commodore Yushua.
“If Yushua is to be believed, the alleged padding has been an on-going thing – the question is from when? Or was it just limited to Badeh’s tenure?These are questions that the president ought have ordered a swift investigation into.And considering the amount involved ,we demand that the three(3) services and the ministry of defense be investigated.The period from 1999 when the military handed over to civilians should be a starting point – because every expenditure was now subject to legislative approval.
“We will like to ask: Has the wage bill of the Nigeria Air Fotce increased or has Air Marshal Abubakar been benefiting with the Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Commodore Ogbeche, “from the normal” N588 million excess? Air Marshal Abubakar has been in office since July 2015. Going by Yushua’s tale, the Air Chief should account for N15 billion.The difference between the salary and the approved budget is about 1.7billion.
“The assertion by Air Commodore Yushau raises some fundamental questions such as:
For how long has the padding of the Nigeria Air Force budget been going on?
Is this practice limited to Nigeria Air Force? How about the Army and the Navy?
What is the role of the National Assembly? Is it true that members of the various armed forces committees were allegedly settled from such funds?
“We demand an immediate investigation of all previous Chiefs of Air Staff, starting from Air Chief Marshal Isaac Alfa, the first Air Chief in the current political dispensation. Others that must be investigated include JD Wuyeb, Paul Dike, Oluseyi Petinrin, A.D. Umar and A.N. Amosu.
“Nigerians deserve to know the truth. Yushau was director between October 2010 and December 2013 when he retired. He served A.D. Umar, Badeh’s predecessor. Badeh must have obviously met this practice and continued with it, if Yushua’s claims are anything to go by.
“We also believe that Air Commodore Yushau as chief financial adviser to two(2)Air Chiefs has questions to answer.He clearly failed in his duties. As the chief of budget he prepared the budget and defended same at the National Assembly.There must be a way to bring him to justice.”
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