EXCLUSIVE: Disquiet in Nigerian Army over proposed multi-billion naira golf course

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Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai

A recent decision by the Nigerian Army to establish a multi-billion naira exclusive golf course for officers is generating disquiet among its rank and file, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

This newspaper learnt that the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, recently informed officers of the Army chief’s intention to construct a golf club for Nigerian Army personnel in Abuja.

The Army described the undertaking as a “noble project”, and said personnel were encouraged to engage in sporting and recreational endeavours to enhance their professionalism.

But in order to realise that ambition, a January 10, 2017 memo signed by M. Mohammed, a major general, on behalf of Mr. Buratai, “directed that all NA officers should exercise part of the ownership of the club by contributing funds for its development/construction”.

The Army chief apportioned the contribution of the officers according to their seniority and said the money could be deducted from their salaries if officers fail to pay up.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that officers who have attained the rank of a major general would pay N150, 000 per person, while Brigadier generals are to pay N100, 000 each.

Colonels were asked to pay N75, 000; while lieutenant colonels pay N50, 000 and majors pay N40,000.

Captains were ordered to pay N30, 000 each while lieutenants and second lieutenants will all pay N20, 000 per head.

The two-page directive was issued by the Department of Army Standards and Evaluation.

The department did not give budget estimates for the project; neither did it say how long it would take to complete. But with an estimated 6,000 commissioned officers, the project would likely draw about N120 million for the project, if the base contribution of N20,000 per officer is used.

Officers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES about the project described it as “unnecessary” and the manner in which it is being handled as “dictatorial.”

Not only did the officers say the project should not be a priority at a time the military is preoccupied with the war against Boko Haram and other counter-insurgency activities, they also expressed reservation about the decision of Mr. Buratai to make it mandatory for all officers.

The personnel, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on the condition of strict anonymity, urged Mr. Buratai to reconsider the clause that all officers must contribute.

“One, we’re fighting Boko Haram, herdsmen and some economic saboteurs across the country right now and they brought this? Why are they always finding different ways to extort officers?” one soldier asked.

A colonel said Mr. Buratai should suspend the plan and allow officers concentrate on their duties, especially when many of them may never get to use the facility.

“How much are we earning that we’re being told to pay money for golf course at this point in time?

“This is a project that many of us may never use. For instance, how many officers are in Abuja? Do they know that many officers may never even get posted to Abuja throughout the course of their career?

“They won’t let officers concentrate on multiple security challenges facing the country,” the colonel said. “For how long are we going to keep complaining about this arbitrary cut of their salaries?

Army spokesman, Sani Usman, said the officers were wrong to claim extortion when the contribution was voluntary.

“It is not because it is voluntary,” Mr. Usman, a brigadier-general, said in an SMS to PREMIUM TIMES Friday.

In a follow-up discussion, the Army spokesman said the directive the Army officers were fuming about was no longer valid because a new memo had been issued on a later date that clearly instructed all personnel to contribute voluntarily.

“The directive was an old one, it was erroneously issued after a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff on the matter,” Mr. Usman told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone January 3. “But another one had since been issued clearly stating that the contribution is voluntary.”

Although our sources acknowledged a follow-up directive was issued, they maintained that it contained essentially the same instruction.

The officers said while the old directive stated that all commissioned Army personnel must contribute towards the project; the new one said they must contribute but gave them an option to seek a refund.

“So the only difference between the old directive and the new one is that officers were giving the option to fill out the paperwork to formally declare their interest not to partake in the ownership of the golf course and seek a refund of their contribution,” one officer said.

The sources said the contribution remained mandatory for all commissioned officers and “no sensible personnel” will take advantage of the opt-out procedure because they saw it as a landmine.

“No officers, no matter how deeply opposed they may be to the golf course, will dare fill any form to request for refund of their contributions,” our sources said. “They will be victimised by the Army authorities who set it as a trap.”

Last October, Nigerian soldiers battling Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast expressed concerns about unauthorised reduction of their allowances to PREMIUM TIMES. They said the situation had continued to impact on their overall morale.

Last week, some anonymous officers took to social media with allegations of dubious pay cuts against the Nigerian Army.

But the Army said the “campaign of calumny” was politically-motivated and fired back at the officers, describing them as disgruntled elements who manufactured their ordeals to tarnish its image.

“The fabricators are most probably being sponsored by the categories of people that frustrated themselves out of the army and political self-defeatists,” the Army said in a February 18 statement signed by Mr. Usman.


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  • Sarah

    When matters like this accumulate, it creates a basis for mutinies. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

    • Shuaibu Ladan

      Premium Times is hungry and therefore being mischievous. Which golf course that would cost “Billions of Naira”? Tell the army to water the flower and all will be well.

      • Otile

        O yes, before hundreds of thousands of sojajin Najeriyan officers ‘voluntarily’ contribute those thousands of Naira the fund will exceed N2.8billions. Only Buratai and the devil know what Buratai is planning to do with the excess that will accrue from the levy.

        • Haba mallam

          You otile is from the Jonathan era all he knows is leaders that steal, his entire community is made of that people like Ibori alameseigha or what ever his name, these are his people,never in his life has he come across honest people like our general maigaskiya Buhari, I feel sorry for you otile the hater

    • Iskacountryman

      buratai wan buy another house…i wonder if he has a fourth wife in the offing…

  • www.electionoffenders.ng

    Is the President and Vice President aware of this initiative?? I doubt it.

    Golf course? This is a very clear sign of disconnect between reality and the mindset of the leadership.

    The leadership still see Nigeria as an affluent country awash with cash to waste. The poor who are feeling the brunt of the collapsed economy and live i daily hardship will be disgusted by this.

    The Army isnt considering a new social security platform and empowerment programs targeted at the rank and file, instead they want a few hundred ‘ogas’ to have a place to relax , drink and play golf.

    There is a disconnect from reality.

    • Nonso Madu

      This is not true. The Army has successful empowerment programmes such as the Barracks investment initiative programmes, vocational training centers and schools. The present army chief has ordered the reduction of school fees in all command schools, among so many others. Shine your eye. There is more than meets the eye in this report by Premium Times. They have been trying all this while to create disaffection among the soldiers without success using a few bad eggs who could not perform in the level playing field of merit.

      • sab

        But did the army deny it? They confirmed it but later said they have made it voluntary. So who are you defending here? Or you want to cry more than the bereaved?

      • Otile

        Mam, are you a wife of a Fulani military officer?

    • Tunji Olarewaju

      “Is the President and Vice President aware of this initiative “?Of course, they are! If the President and his Vice are not aware of this initiative, then they should be impeached for dereliction of duty!

    • ukoette ibekwe

      Didn’t​you read just this week how NLGN remitted about$29b to Buhari? There is money only it is not declared. Buhari would have so much my net by the time he passes that his family could buy a new country for herdsmen.

  • soulchild

    Everywhere you look thieves. This is nothing but a scam. Buratai is emboldened by the fact that he has not been held accountable for his Dubai properties and has moved to the next level of extortion. Everyday for the thief and one day for the owner

  • thusspokez

    “This is a project that many of us may never use. For instance, how many officers are in Abuja? Do they know that many officers may never even get posted to Abuja throughout the course of their career?

    My question exactly!

  • Haba mallam

    I hope PM is right this time, lately your story about Buratai is grossly inadequate. And how do you know all this happenings in the Nigerian Army? Do you have spies and informers in the army that informs you what’s going in there?

    • Otile

      The right question is – is the story true or false, not whether the media have informants or not. PT is doing good investigative work but the corrupt military officer and his supporters like you hate being exposed. Corrupt Buratai will eventually find out that nothing is hidden under the sun. As usual you are expected to respond with your mantra – creek monkey. Beri mallam

      • marcos avelino

        comment on this — Otobo says during sex, apostle John Suleiman would lick her all over her body including her vagina and had suggested that they have group sex with her friends.

        • Otile

          You are very vulgar. How can you claim to be a devout Muslim?

      • Haba mallam

        I see today you drink ogogoro or is it palmwine before you came to work. Erat of all erats, spreading nonsense lies and cheap black all over the internet otile the creek monkey what exactly do intend to achieve. You’re everywhere distorting facts do you can mislead people. May God curse you and all your masters amend.

    • So oju abe niko

      PM was right the last time too. And that was why Buratai wanted to muzzle them by the illegal show of force, but he has since backed down. Ultimately, Buhari is to be blamed for this. If he had sacked this fellow when the Dubai property surfaced, then he would not have the audacity to extort officers for his vain golf-course project.

  • Gary

    This is official extortion, plain and simple. Army Chief Buratai is using his position to blackmail his officers into “voluntarily” contributing to building a Golf Course for himself and Army bigwigs in Abuja. This is Transcorp and Obasanjo Presidential Library all over. A Golf Course is a priority amid a recession and multiple operational challenges of the Nigerian Army? C’mon Mr. Buratai, what were you thinking!

    Even if you must have a Golf Course to exercise (if fighting Boko Haram is not enough exercise), how about launching a public Appeal Fund for wealthy Nigerians to generously support it?

    The likes of Aliko Dangote and some of our oil billionaires, whose corporate interests the Army protects, will gladly dole out the chump change to help build a Golf Course for you.

    Please try that tack rather than blackmail your subordinates who have their own economic burdens to carry.

    P.S. You can thank me later or better still tell Buhari to let Zakzaky out of detention. He’s there because of you and you know it’s wrong keeping him in detention for over a year now.

    • Otile

      That Buratai man has no morals at all. This is the worst administration ever. Haba

  • bib

    PT! Check your arith! 20, 000×6, 000 is N120m not N1. 2b!

  • Osborn Alex

    If we can arbitrarily collect money from officers for a golf course, what stops us from collecting money from these same officers for charity work in the North East. I think that area needs our help now more than a grandiose golf course.

    • Otile

      How then are the fat desk officers going to benefit from the fund? The idea is not to help the refugees but to entertain the high ranking officers in the land, remember.

  • marcos avelino

    Otobo says during sex, apostle Suleiman would lick her all over her body including her vagina and had suggested that they have group sex with her friends.

    • Otile

      Terrorist, don’t divert our attention to make your brother look good. Did Sanusi suggest group sex to Hajiya Yero?

  • AbdulHamid Adiamoh

    No qualms, Buhari’s government will end someday and Buratai will also have to answer for all his shenaningans. It’s just a matter of time.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    Isn’t extortion against the law? Nigeria does not have a government or simply the military is a government on its own.

    • Augustine

      ◾◾Voluntary contribution for sport facility to be used by the soldiers who paid for it. Biafraudster, please sharaaaap❗❗

      • Otile

        Omo oduafraudian, what brought about your_stupid name calling? Why must Buratai extort money from people to build his golf course?

        • Gary

          That’s what the E-rats do online to earn the stipends paid to them as operatives of the BMC. They attack and abuse folks who don’t kowtow to their paymasters in government.

          • Otile

            Their insults cannot have any effect because their comments are never convincing even to children.

      • Solomon Brown

        Didn’t you read the part of the article, which says for those who fail to pay, the amount due will be deducted from their pay package, is that voluntary or mandatory to you? Forcing people to pay for something they don’t want in the first place, then telling them you can get your money back if you want is extortion.

        • Augustine

          ⭕Did your empty skull not read same story that says army spokesman Brigadier Usman said directly to premium times editor that the golf course fund is a voluntary contribution?
          ⭕⭕ The army has proved people like you are enemies of progress in Nigeria. When we patriotic youths start our online revolution, we shall call for your arrest for disloyalty to the nation

  • Ekwekwe

    Beware! Some objectors to this obvious case of extortion may soon be arraigned for “attempted coup!”

  • Otile

    Don’t blame all Nigerians, in this case blame the corrupt officer who initiated this extortion. If you check out those who built American golf courses I am sure no American general extorted money from other officers to build them.

  • Gary

    Are you paid by post or why do you keep reposting your insults on this thread? A Golf Course could have been sourced from the Defence Budget as a recreational facility for the Abuja Army Barracks. Or by public/corporate fundraising instead of the Chief extorting his officers to pay for it from their salaries.
    Not every soldier has a side business or access to funds to augment his income.

    A boss asking his subordinates for a favour or support is tantamount to an order. More so in the uniformed services with their command structure.

    • Augustine

      ❌ Was your brain stolen last night? Did you not read official publication of army spokesman Brigadier Usman in a message sent directly to Premium Times editor that the contribution is voluntary?
      ❌❌Government has no money for golf club, too much expenses for other areas of FG responsibility. You be mümü
      ❌❌❌If voluntary payment for sports facility to be used by same soldiers paying for it is extortion, then you are either a PDP election loser or Igbo Biafraud referendum begger blaming others for your own failures

      • Gary

        It is just as shameful that morons like you are actually paid to do propaganda for government. This is a corrupt and wasteful expenditure of public funds that those involved will someday have to answer for.
        The funds devoted to useless propaganda by Lai and Aso Rock will easily fund the building of the Abuja Golf Course for the Army.
        Keep at it, all your days are numbered.

  • Solomon Brown

    If this idea was borne out of good intentions, it is nothing but another unnecessary endeavor being embarked on by this COAS, otherwise I see it for what exactly it is, another corruption scandal in the making.

    The army should concern itself with the resuscitation of DICON and improving the capabilities of its fighting and administrative force. Start a fresh page by sanitizing and ridding itself of personnel who continue to damage its reputation, evidenced in the many cases of human rights violations levelled against it.

    Building a golf course is misplaced priority as far as I’m concerned, when it should be building more installations to improve its presence in the South and East of the nation.

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  • MammanJiyaVatsa

    The Northern-Nigerian Army is broke ?

    Accepted spoken language – Hausa.

    Accepted religion – Islam.

    High percentage of armory location – Northern Nigeria.

  • George

    Duara Republic Army of half dead buhari is a disgrace like their bed-wetting president who couldn’t take his foreign wife Aisha to other rooms again.

    I heard OBJ has showed interest to refund Buhari the little dowry he paid on Aisha head if any so that he OBJ could have direct and un-hindrance access to other rooms with Aisha.

  • Kamalu

    As it appears they cannot steal directly from the national treasury under Mr. Buhari’s watch, the army authorities are now resorting to implementing dubious underhand deals to extort it’s men, officers, rank and file. What a country?

    • Alpha Dinni Thanni

      ,,,, YOUR RESPONSE ,,,,,, Confirming BUHARI has TIGHTENED up our treasury leaking HOLES . .. .. big up.

  • Alpha Dinni Thanni

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,, STILL UNDER EVALUATION ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, generally we are not Nigerians are not too good with RECREATIONS and this might be a WASTE of land, money, time and energy. ,,,,,,, A NEEDLESS PROJECT.

  • Mentus

    What exactly is Buratai’s mission. Last week he was in the news making pronouncement about Biafra not happening in the next four millennia, Now it is about building a golf course. It appears he is positioning himself for leadership in the country??.
    Where exactly are they building the golf course and how did they arrive at the choice. As all the officers are posted to different barracks one will presume that one will be built for each army barrack for accessibility of all the officers.
    It is suspicious to start deducting money from officers’ salary without giving details of the project and in any case as had already been pointed out, they should concern themselves with ensuring security for all Nigerians considering the security challenges in virtually all parts of Nigeria. That is what he paid all that money for not to turn into a self appointed political head. Security forces are not supposed to be partisan.
    Buratai and his team must realise they are employers of the government and it is the responsibility of the government to provide these facilities, after all he may not even be there as chief of army staff after the next election.

  • Senator D

    Golf Course??? How about the barracks, shooting ranges and Mammy Markets have you really taken time to upgrade them to international standards before thinking of your WHITE ELEPHANT project? The state of our barracks and mammy markets are a total mess for example Abacha Barracks here in Abuja. Even the officers mess are no better. Kindly please upgrade our barracks. Build recreation centres in those barracks and upgrade the living conditions of officers and men of the Nigerian army. I tell you before you are done upgrading our barrcaks, shooting ranges and mammy markets you have spent 10-years achieving that. There are challenges in front of you and you are looking for more challenges. Abeg, wetin dey for Sokoto dey for “sokoto”…

  • Senator D

    Does the Nigerian Army have a farming or Poultry farm big and sufficient to feed it’s officers and men nationwide? Or does the Nigerian army don’t know about food sufficiency plan of the current administration? Does the Nigerian Army have world-class research centres to build military hardware and defence systems? Is this Buratai okay? Why is he chasing shadows? It is ONLY in Nigeria that this kind of people thrive… Mediocrity of the highest order…Think how to make the army better in self sufficiency both in military gears and food. By now the Nigerian army should be able to build guns and APC in house NOT importing from South Africa or Russia…

  • Senator D

    Do you know that in South Africa and United States their Army are partnering with Universities to build military hardwares and sophisticates gears for their preparation for war. Do you know these countries have army research institutes where they design sophisticated Helicopters, Drones etc… You are here thinking of Luxury and enjoyment… Is IBB’s golf centre NOT enough for you Buratai???

  • Senator D

    Do you know other countries have army research institutes where they design sophisticated Helicopters, Drones etc… You are here thinking of Luxury and enjoyment… Is IBB’s golf centre NOT enough for you Buratai???

  • Senator D

    “Last October, Nigerian soldiers battling Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast expressed concerns about unauthorised reduction of their allowances to PREMIUM TIMES. They said the situation had continued to impact on their overall morale.
    Last week, some anonymous officers took to social media with allegations of dubious pay cuts against the Nigerian Army.” Dictators everywhere from Hameed Ali to Buratai reaching atop Danbazzu these are all a reflection of their taskmasters attitude and character… Disdain for civility and democratic principles…