The commander of the Nigerian Army’s Operation Lafiya Dole against Boko Haram, has reacted to a report accusing the army chief, Tukur Buratai, of supplying refurbished vehicles to the army in a contract scam that left him with proceeds enough to buy a property in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In an earlier statement, the army spokesperson, Sani Usman, denied the report by news websiteSaharareporters, accusing the medium of a “smear campaign”.
He however admitted Mr. Buratai owned properties in Dubai, but said they were bought with Mr. Buratai’s savings.
Saharareporters says the Dubai property, purchased in 2013, is jointly owned by Mr. Buratai and his wives.
Lucky Irabor, a major general and commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, reacted to the report on Saturday at a press conference in Maiduguri on Saturday.
Mr. Irabor described the reports as “baseless, unfounded and wicked insinuation”.
“The other issue regarding property in Dubai is outside my purview, but has been responded to appropriately by the Acting Director Army Public Relations.
“The COAS, since assumption of office, has taken the affairs of Operation Lafiya Dole to a level that showed unparalleled commitment to the operational effectiveness and good welfare of troops.
“For example, since January 2016 till now, the COAS has provided various quantities of ammunition types, vehicles and other equipment in the Theatre.
“He has equally provided uniforms and boots for all the troops in Operation Lafiya Dole, ‘’ Mr. Irabor added.
He said the COAS had also ensured regular payment of allowances and other personnel entitlements since assumption of office.
“The payment of allowances and other requirements have been regular and in most cases, up-front. The COAS’ regular visits to the front line are well known to all.
“The aggregate impact of the efforts is the huge operational successes being recorded in the Theatre.
“The morale of troops has equally risen to a level that was never witnessed in the past,” Mr. Irabor said.
He also faulted claims that the motorcycles supplied to the Motorcycle Battalion in the Operation Lafiya Dole were used and refurbished.
“The online report further imputed that the motorcycles inducted into Operation Lafiya Dole and employed by the Motorcycle Battalion, were used and refurbished.
“What a sad tale of lies, when a report of that nature was received earlier, the COAS instituted a high-powered investigation by Military Police.
“The findings of the investigation team revealed that the motorcycles were brand new and were delivered in crates as knocked-down-parts.
“The technicians who fixed some of them, failed to tighten some knots firmly which was later rectified. Ever since, the motorcycles have proven useful in various operations,” Mr. Irabor said.
Mr. Irabor said motorcycles, used by the army’s Motorcycle Battalion, are to enhance the capability of own forces to patrol, block routes, picket and pursue any remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists.
This, he said had proved successful in the last major Operation Crackdown particularly along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu and Damaturu-Buni Yadi Biu roads, opened to the public earlier in the year.