The Nigerian Army, has reacted to a media report by an online medium, that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Tukur Buratai, and his two wives are joint owners of a Dubai property that was paid for in one transaction.
The online medium had reported that the money for the purchase of the property may have come from a vehicle contract scam while Mr. Buratai was the Director of Procurement at the Army HQ, before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as COAS.
It said it discovered that the Nigerian Army had awarded an apparently bogus contract for the supply of vehicles and motorcycles for the use of troops involved in an anti-terrorism offensive in Nigeria’s beleaguered northeastern zone.
It reported that two irate officers had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to order an investigation into the contract scam.
But in a swift reaction, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, said the report was another round of campaign of calumny against the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai and his family by some unscrupulous elements.
Usman in a statement said: “It is important to know that these baseless allegations were not new. In March this year, some groups of individuals under the aegis of “Concerned Citizens”, tried same smear campaign to their disappoinment, it could not fly, because it is not true.
“You will recall early this week, there was similar campaign of calumny by yet another online news medium, in which among other things, it alleged that wounded in action Nigerian Army personnel were abandoned by the Army, government and the nation which is not true.
“Therefore, the latest round of smear campaign by this Online Medium is one of the series of campaigns of calumny by these faceless individuals to malign the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army. Yet, typical of blackmailers and mischief makers despite failures, they did not give up, hence they now found a willing accomplice reputed for muckraking like this medium.
“The online news medium this evening (Friday) uploaded another campaign of calumny allegedly based on a petition by obviously fake and non-existent group it described as “Concerned Soldiers and Officers From the North East”.
“The allegations contained in the write up are baseless and not correct. It is a fact that the Buratai family have two properties in Dubai that were paid for instamentally through personal savings three years ago.
“This, along with other personal assets have consistently been declared by General Buratai in his Assets Declaration Form as Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Commander and as Chief of Army Staff.
“It is pertinent to state that the Chief of Army Staff does not have any account with Skye Bank as alleged, let alone making deposits in the imaginary bank account to the tune of the amount stated in the write up.
“Similarly, he has not been involved in any form of shady or dishonest transaction, not to talk of “contract scam”.
“In addition, General Buratai was never near either Defence Headquarters or Army Headquarters in 2013. It is pertinent to also note that he was never a Director of procurement in Army Headquarters as alleged. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Army never had a Directorate of Procurement till when he established one last year when he became Chief of Army Staff.
“In a bid to rubbish the hard earned reputation and good name of the Chief of Army Staff, these blackmailers will stop at nothing hence all these kinds of mudslinging.
“It is really worrisome that some people could condescend so low to fabricate baseless allegation against the Chief of Army Staff for reasons that could best be described as mischievous.
It is equally worrisome that this Online Medium could lend space for this obvious mischief. We really do not believe that it is because the price is right.
“Consequently, the public and indeed all well meaning persons should disregard this round of campaign of calumny against the Chief of Army Staff and similar ones because they are baseless and unfounded.
“For the unscrupulous elements and their cohorts, these campaigns would prod the Nigerian Army and indeed the Chief of Army Staff to continue to serve the nation diligently and with utmost zeal.”