The calls for the probe of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, over his acquisition of a property allegedly worth $1.5 billion in Dubai, is growing by the day, as prominent Nigerians and groups on Monday, called on the Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate him.
It would be recalled that an online news medium had reported last week that the Army Staff and his two wives owned $1.5m properties in Dubai.
Speaking on the allegation, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said Buratai should be probed over the allegation of the Dubai property scandal.
He stated: “The defence the army put up for him is so silly to be believed outside the barracks. All the earnings of Buratai since he joined the army, if all were saved, cannot buy a house in Dubai, let alone two.
“The army also exposed itself as a lying institution when it said Buratai was never in charge of procurement in writing. The investigation should make Buratai to let the country know that he did other businesses to buy the property in question so that the integrity of the anti-corruption war can be intact.
“The house could only come legitimately through other businesses outside his pay. The savings from the salaries of any army officer in Nigeria cannot buy a house in Dubai.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, said it was the duty of the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate Buratai’s claim that the houses purchased in Dubai were done with his personal savings.
SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said for the anti-corruption war to be seen as fair, the anti-graft agencies must consider whether Buratai could afford the properties based on his financial records as a civil servant.
He said: “The bulk stops at the table of the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the COAS. Did Buratai and his two wives acquired the property in Dubai and paid for it in a single transaction? As a civil servant, how much has he received in salaries and emoluments? Are these big enough to acquire the properties? For the anti-corruption war to be seen as fair and not selective, the anti-graft agencies must investigate Buratai. It is their duty.”
Also, the President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, insisted that Buratai should be probed in as much as he could not justify the purchase of the Dubai property with his legitimate earnings.
Ugwummadu said: “The main thrust of the two major legal regimes designed to deal with anti-corruption regime is to ensure that by no means persons allowed to live in excess of their legitimate means.
“If Buratai’s years of entry into the military are known and his salary ascertainable and it is not enough to satisfy a full-time soldier who is also excluded from other endeavours apart from farming and agriculture, he should be probed.
“This is painful to me, because Buratai has shown commendable capacity to fight against insurgency in Nigeria.”
On his part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, berated the Nigeria Army for defending Buratai over the Dubai properties, adding that it was
not the business of the Army to speak for Buratai on the allegations.
He said: “Buratai should willingly invite the CCB, the EFCC, the ICPC to look into the matter. If Buratai was alleged to have unjustly purchased the houses, he has to come out to defend himself. He must show how the money used to purchase the houses was transferred.”
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