President Mohammadu Buhari has come under intense pressure by some prominent Nigerians to sack the chief army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai following the revelation that he bought two houses in Dubai, worth $1.5m.
According to reports, some of those who called for the army chief’s resignation or sacking on Sunday, July 10, are human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN); another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome; and the publicity secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin among others.
Femi Falana said the resignation or removal of Buratai was necessary in the interest of national morality. He said the explanation by the Nigerian Army authorities that Buratai paid for the properties in instalments through his personal savings is a “cock and bull story”.
“In view of the ban on the opening and operation of foreign accounts by public officers, the Code of Conduct Bureau should be involved in the investigation. “If the Chief of Army Staff does not deem it fit to resign forthwith, President Buhari should not hesitate to remove him in the interest of national morality,” Falana said.
He regretted that the name of the Nigerian Army had been “illegally” used to defend Buratai in the unfolding scam. ‘‘How an army General managed to save $1.5m has not been disclosed to Nigerians. Since the General was in charge of procurement for the Nigerian Army at the material time, the cock and bull story of the military high command has been called names,” the SAN stated.
On his part, Ozekhome specifically demanded that Buratai should be tried before he would be allowed to resign. “I will rather urge that he be first tried through our criminal justice system trial, which is accusatorial and not inquisitorial. When found guilty, he can then be dismissed or court-martialled.
“Let the government for once prove us wrong that it so called anti-corruption war is not targeted at profiled opponents by putting him through trial as a serving military officer. Just for once, I want to be proved wrong,” he said.
Similarly, the publicity secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said the illogical defence of Buratai by military authorities had made the position of the COAS “untenable”. He said: “His position has become untenable with that expose and very weak, feeble and sloppy defence. It is preposterous to ask the Federal Government that cleared him, to now fire him. And resignation is not in the dictionary of Nigerian officials but he obviously is a blight on the anti-corruption war.”
Meanwhile, speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has revealed a rather disturbing information about the ongoing anti-corruption war. Dogara who spoke with journalists at the weekend in Lagos, said monies running into billions of naira have been recovered buried in farmlands in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The speaker was however silent on the precise amount recovered from the farmlands, but he said he was informed that an estimated N1.5 billion cash had so far been dug up.