The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has advised President Mohammadu Buhari to urgently set up a Commission of inquiry to probe the spending of defence and military budgets between 1999 and 2018.
SERAP gave the charge in an open letter to the President dated 23rd of November and signed by its Senior Legal Adviser, Ms Bamisope Adeyanju.
According to Not- for- Profit Organisation, the probe would: “ensure that the funds meant for military operation are spent for that purpose and end the vulnerability and killings of Nigerian soldiers such as the reported death of several Nigerian soldiers in the recent Metele Boko Haram attack.”
Urging that the case of diversion of funds for arms be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the organisation in its letter stated that It would serve as deterrent to looters while ensuring that those who have been violated due to insurgency and who also lost their lives in the process get justice.
It also expressed concern over non improvement in the ability of Soldiers to fight Boko had an despite billions of naira allocated and appropriated to the military.
“The military’s inability to respond adequately to the Boko Haram insurgency suggests among other things a mismanagement in the spending of the country’s defence budgets.
“Establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate how defence and military budgets have been spent since 29 May 1999 would help Nigerians to know if the funds meant to defend the country and for purchase of arms to empower Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram have been transparently and accountably spent,” it said.
The letter reads in part, “ We are concern that several billions of naira allocated to the military to defend the country have neither contributed to improving the ability of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and other armed groups nor provided the much-needed security especially for Nigerians in the North-east of the country.”
“The proposed commission should be led by a retired justice of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The activities of the commission must be open to the public and all those who have been responsible for the spending of the country’s defence and military budgets should be summoned to give a public account of how the money was spent.”
SERAP further urged the President to “move swiftly to implement these recommendations as a way of demonstrating your government’s commitment to end the perception of lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of military budgets in the context of the conflict in the Northeast and to ensure the safety and security of our solders and all Nigerians in that part of the country.”