The Presidency has said that the Nigerian Army has been having problems with the procurement of arms from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this while speaking on Channels TV on Friday.
He, however, noted that the equipment have been coming in bits and in pieces due to a misunderstanding between Nigeria and the UAE.
“As I speak to you, it is held up in a situation which only diplomacy will resolve. The Nigerian Minister of Defence actually had a meeting with the Ambassador of the UAE to Nigeria and the idea is to resolve this so that these equipment held up will be released.
“We need them here, all these procurements are ongoing; nothing can be bought on the shelf, they are bought on order. The NSA did not make accusations of misappropriation because there is none in dealing with this matter,” he said.
Shehu asserted that the procurements made have not been fully delivered and about $536 million of the money was paid directly in a government-to-government transaction with the United States government.
He said: “In August 2018, they (the US) allowed the Nigerian Government to buy 12 Super Tucano aircraft suitable for the kind of war we are fighting in the North East. In addition to that, other arms of the military have also made procurements.
“The Nigerian Navy has done nearly 100 percent of their procurements equipment delivered; the Nigerian Air Force has bought a number of attack helicopters – 35 i-helicopters from Ukraine.”
Shehu also denied the claim made by National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.), that some funds meant for the purchase of arms got missing under the leadership of the ex-service chiefs.
The presidential aide said the NSA was misquoted, stressing that Monguno did not accuse the ex-service chiefs of misappropriation of funds.
He said: “I imagine that you are talking about the $1 billion taken from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) with the consent of state governors and was used for military procurement.
“I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing. The reference by it in the interview with Hausa Service of the BBC by the National Security Adviser, I think, has been misconstrued and mistranslated.