The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday set up a 17-man Committee to verify arms and ammunition in units and formations of the Nigerian Army nationwide.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee, Mr. Buratai said that the army had an existing procedure for checks and balances in which formations and units rendered computerised arms returns for accounting process.
He, however, said that the laid down procedures had over the time been “jettisoned or compromised for various reasons.’’
“The Nigerian Army has procured different types of arms for training and operations.
“However, we have discovered that some of these weapons were delivered straight to various theatres of operation without following the proper process of documentation and accounting.
“This has sometimes resulted in double accounting by many formations, especially those involved in counter-insurgency and other military operations in aid of civil authority.
“The resultant effect of these improper arms handling has necessitated the need to reconcile and constantly update returns in line with data bases held at the Army Headquarters,’’ Mr. Buratai said.
Therefore, the army chief said, there was need to have accurate records of the holdings in various depots and arms store in the army.
He charged the committee to go round units and formations of the army to verify their arms holdings.
Mr. Buratai further charged the committee: “You are enjoined to visit all units and formations in your areas of assigned tasks and render a comprehensive report on completion of the verification.
“Let me hasten to add that arms and ammunition issues are secret matters, hence you are to treat this assignment with the seriousness and secrecy it deserves.’’
Responding, the head of the committee, Samuel Ayo, a retired brigadier-general, promised not to betray the confidence reposed in the members.
Mr. Ayo further promised that the committee would carry out its assignment to the best of its ability, praising the army for taking steps to verify its arms.