Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 'Israeli Contractors Sold Nigeria U.S.$240 Million Non-Functional Drones'

Nigerian defence and security equipment contractor, Alh. Rabiu Hassan, yesterday, alleged that some Israeli security contractors (names withheld) were fleecing the nation of huge sums of money in hard currencies by supplying either non-functional equipments or collecting mobilisation fees without making supplies.

The contractor told journalists in Abuja that at a time the nation was facing dire security challenges, three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, popularly known as drones, supplied by the Israelis were rotting away in a hangar in Benin because they were non-functional.

He added that even at that, Nigeria was made to pay far more than the cost of the most sophisticated drones currently used by United States of America, USA.

Hassan, who said he had petitioned the Presidency and relevant anti-corruption agencies, said although he was a contractor himself, he had to cry out for a probe into the activities of the affected companies with a view to arresting the situation.

He said: "As we talk, there are three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which are popularly called drones, supplied by the Israelis which have never worked. They are parked right now at a hangar in Benin. They have never worked since they were supplied."

He said the non-functional drones cost the nation $240 million, adding that the Israeli behind the drones deal had operated in the country for over a decade and had infiltrated the top echelon of successive administrations in the country, where he had entrenched himself.

He equally disclosed that another set of two Israelis were on the verge of sealing a deal for leasing two spy satellites to Nigeria at a cost considered to be another rip-off as they had asked Nigeria to pay 145 million Euros for a project, which cost had been put at $40 million by Imagesat, the manufacturers in Israel.

Hassan said: "I have personally gone to Israel and found out from the manufacturers what the cost is. It is $40 million for the total project. It is curious that they (contractors) are quoting 145 million Euros.

"The Israeli company does not quote in Euros, they only quote in dollars. Nigerians must ask questions: is there any such contract at $145 million? This can't happen elsewhere in the world."

Hassan, who said he was crying out as a patriotic Nigeria, disclosed that he would be at the State Security Service, SSS, and the Office of the National Security on their invitation to give more details on his petition.

According to him, he had earlier made a preliminary statement at the SSS and was determined to ensure that the matter was not swept under the carpet. He said the entire activities of the Israeli firms in the nation's security sector must be probed.

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