21 February 2018

Nigeria: Dasukigate: EFCC Grills Nigeria's Former Army Chief Ihejirika

Anti-graft detectives at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are questioning Azubuike Ihejirika, a former Chief of Army Staff, over his alleged involvement in the $2.1 billion arms procurement scandal, sources at the commission have informed PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Ihejirika, a retired lieutenant-general, arrived at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja around 11:00 a.m. Wednesday and was subsequently ushered into an interrogation room, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Mr. Ihejirika, 62, led the Nigerian Army from September 2010 to January 2014 when he was dropped by President Goodluck Jonathan over his handling of the Boko Haram war.

His visit to the EFCC comes about 20 months after President Muhammadu Buhari said Mr. Ihejirika and others should be prosecuted after they were indicted by a panel of inquiry that probed the arms scandal, now widely dubbed the Dasukigate.

"He is being questioned as related to the procurement of arms and ammunition during the time he held sway as Chief of Army Staff," an EFFC official told PREMIUM TIMES under strict anonymity because he was not an authorised spokesperson for the anti-graft agency.

"He will be released on administrative bail as soon as preliminary interrogations are over," another source under anonymity said.

EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren did not respond to requests for comments.

Mr. Ihejirika said he didn't immediately have answers to some of the questions thrown at him and sought the permission of his interrogators to go back home and retrieve more details relating to the arms purchase affairs, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

The arms panel suspected Mr. Ihejirika of using family members and fronts to procure arms contract.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately confirm if Mr. Ihejirika has contacted his lawyers, but the retired military chief has always denied any wrongdoings.


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