The Nigerian Security Adviser, Gen Andrew Azazi, two former military governors and a former Director General of the State Security Service Lt Col Kayode Are have been implicated in a scandalous gun running scam distributing ammunitions to Niger Delta Militants– from Nigeria’s arsenal of ammunitions.
Leading online news medium, Saharareporters has obtained a secret report by the Nigerian Army which implicated the current National Security Adviser, Gen Andrew Azazi (rtd), former Governors James Ibori and DSP Alamieyeseigha, and former Director-General of the State Security Service, Lt. Col Kayode Are (rtd) in the massive diversion and sale of Nigerian army weaponry to Niger Delta militants.
SaharaReporters obtained the intelligence report one week after Sonny Bowie Okah denounced members of his family as “killers” and vowed to destroy them, and a few days after the State Security Services intercepted 13 container loads of arms being imported into Nigeria through the Lagos port.
Sonny Bowei Okah, a brother to Henry Okah, the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta currently facing terrorism charges in South Africa, is portrayed in the report as a central character in the deals. Also mentioned in the document are Major Gen R.O. Adekhegba, a former Director of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, Henry Okah himself, Major S.A. Akubo, a serving army officer, and ten soldiers who worked with the Nigerian Army Ordinance Corps.
The 35-page report, which is dated November 2007, is the product of an intensive investigation by the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps following a tip-off by a soldier and a red flag by the SSS that army weapons were flowing from an ordinance depot in Kaduna and Jaji to militants.
Ibori and Alamieyeseigha were named as having financed the arms deals.
The report, suppressed for long by the military hierarchy and the Federal Government, details in shocking detail how Sunny Okah funneled over N100 million to Major Akubo and the soldiers in exchange for over 7,000 cache of assorted arms and ammunition.
The report reveals that, within a seven-year period, Sonny Okah colluded with Major Akubo to move the weaponry. “They would surreptitiously drive Isuzu pick-up vans and sewage disposal trucks into ordinance depots in Jaji and Kaduna and then ferry out high-caliber and light weapons, even ammunitions,” said a source within the intelligence community who also had access to the report.
The report describes Sunny Okah as the major middleman between the soldiers and the militants, including his brother Henry.
“The amount of weapons stolen are enough to hold not just Port Harcourt hostage but the whole of Nigeria,” the report notes. “Should criminals decide to spread out to major cities of Nigeria with just a few of these weapons and cause chaos simultaneously, it is doubtful if we will not have a national state of emergency situation in our hands.”
The investigation was triggered when a certain Private Zamanu Adamu who, while on guard at the ordinance depot in Jaji, Kaduna, in September 2007, reported that the seal on the depot had been broken and that some items had been removed.
In its investigation, the army intelligence corps interrogated Sunny Okah, Major Akubo and the soldiers who confessed to the crime. The investigators unearthed the fact that there was an earlier arms sale at 1 Ordinance Base in Kaduna. Major Akubo is named as the prime suspect in that deal.
Our investigation revealed that, rather than get to the bottom of the case and bring perpetrators to book, both the SSS and the Directorate of Military Intelligence engaged in official cover-ups. Azazi, Are and Adekhegba spearheaded the campaign to bury the report.
“It’s true that the SSS launched an investigation quite all right, and even got the army authorities to release the suspects – Major Akubo and the soldiers – to it for interrogation,” said an army source. He added that “the investigation was soon truncated and the suspects, including Sunny Okah, were released even after they confessed to the crime.”
Our sources disclosed that then Major Akubo was taken in by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), but was interrogated by a one-man panel appointed by Adekhegba. He was curiously released to return to his unit based on instructions from Azazi, even when his involvement in the scandalous deals had been firmly established.
At the time the arms thefts began, Azazi was General Officer Commanding the 1st Division in Kaduna. Investigators suggested that he handled the case shabbily in order to cover up his “command failure”.
“Is there a likelihood that this case was shabbily handled in order that Gen Azazi’s failures may remain undiscovered?” the report asked. “Did Gen Azazi use course mate influence on the then DG of DSS Lt Col LKK Are (rtd) to ensure that the case remain suppressed? Otherwise, why did it take until now when Are is no longer in office for the DSS to reopen the case and be willing to cooperate fully.” The report added, “Gen Azazi obviously has more questions to answer regarding his roles in this case.”
The report fingered Ibori and Alamieyeseigha as financiers of the arms acquisition. Both men, who were state governors at the time, allegedly provided the funds with which Sunny Okah went on his arms shopping spree.
“These two politicians are mentioned as financiers of the arms acquisition project,” the report said. “Certainly, they would not have provided money without knowing the source of the weapons. Simply put, a breach of security of this magnitude was deliberately masterminded by state governors.”
Major Akubo is reported to have confessed to investigators that Sunny Okah approached him in 2004 stating that Ibori and Alamieyeseigha had given him a job to source for arms on their behalf. Okah asked for Akubo’s help to deliver on the job.
Ibori recently appealed the ruling by a court in Dubai that he should be extradited to the UK to face charges for money laundering. Meanwhile Alamieyeseigha, a convict who served a short jail term for corrupt enrichment, is championing the President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential election bid.
The report recommended that Azazi and Adekhegba be sanctioned and that the indicted governors should be further investigated.
The recommendations were not implemented. In fact, shortly before the report was written, Azazi forwarded the name of the former DMI chief for a national award while Sunny Okah was set free.
Sunny Okah has since been recruited by the Jonathan administration and is being used to press the case against his brothers, Charles and Henry, over the October 1 Abuja bomb blast.
A few weeks ago, Jonathan appointed Azazi as his new national security adviser. Despite his indictment in the report, Azazi enjoyed one of the fastest career elevations among Nigerian military officers. Between mid-2006 and mid-2007, he rose from Major General to Lieutenant General to General.
However, on August 20, 2008, months after the report was written, Umaru Yar’Adua fired Azazi as Chief of Defense Staff and retired him from the Army. Two sources have told Saharareporters that the arms deal report of 2007 influenced Yar’Adua’s decision to fire Azazi from his post.
One of those sources revealed that then Vice President Jonathan was aware of the reason for Azazi’s firing. “By asking General Azazi to come out of retirement and become his NSA, is President Jonathan out to register his disagreement with the judgment of the late president?” asked the source.
However, Major Akubo and the soldiers have since been court-martialed, dismissed from the army and are serving jail terms.
The investigative report wondered how widespread the theft and sale of military arms thefts were, not just in the army but in the navy, the air force, the police, and other armed agencies.
It also raised questions about the role of politicians as financiers of the deals, and wondered about how the arms shopping affected national security.
After an overview of the many issues raised by the arms deals and the highly placed individuals involved in them, the investigative report formulated a conspiracy theory. It suggested that there was a link between the aborted Orkar coup in 1989, the 2001 Ikeja Cantonment arms depot explosions, the arms theft at 1BODK, and the militancy in the Niger Delta.
“It is believed that there is an orchestrated plan by the Niger Deltans to secede from Nigeria which is being played out over the years with every opportunity they have,” the report concluded.
Source Sahara Reporters.