Saturday, 8 April 2017

Admiral Ikoli's death: Arms deal panel members seek protection from Buhari


Following the suspicious death of one of them, members of the Presidential Committee on the Arms Procurement Funds Investigation Panel are seeking protection from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The panel members might also push for a full-scale probe of how the Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command, Apapa, Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, died in suspicious circumstances at his residence in Lagos.

It was learnt that the team might meet next week on the type of security apparatchik needed by members.

Based on the directive of the President, the National Security Adviser, Brig-Gen. Babagana Monguno, on August 24, 2015 constituted the panel to look into the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces from 2007 till date.

The assignment led to the investigation of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki; a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd); two former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshals M.D. Umar and A.N. Amosu (rtd); 15 retired and serving senior military officers; 22 companies and many aides of the suspects.

Some of the affected officers are already standing trial in courts.

But barely a few months after the panel was technically disbanded, one of its key members, Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, died in what a source described as suspicious.”

A source among the panel members said: “We are disturbed by the questionable circumstances under which Ikoli purportedly died. We want a full-scale investigation of the death.

“Technically, the manner in which Ikoli purportedly died has left many questions unanswered. We are leaving the police to do its job.

“But we are also going to approach the President to provide security for all members of the panel. Apart from being under tremendous pressure during the assignment, there were obvious threats too.

“Most of our members are feeling unsafe; we need presidential intervention because our risk exposure is too high. There is no doubt that corruption will fight back and we will certainly be targeted.

“You can imagine what one of us, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, is going through partly because of the report of the committee.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Since the assignment was completed, there has been lighter security apparatchik around members unlike when they were on duty.”

Another committee member said: “While some members of the committee are retired, some are still serving in various units of the Armed Forces.

“The state ought to design a special protection module for members of the panel. We did our best to serve the nation, but even our colleagues are taking it personal as if we were all out to destroy the military”.

Members of the panel are AVM J.O.N. Ode (rtd.); R/Adm. J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.); R/Adm. E. Ogbor (rtd.); Brig.-Gen. L. Adekagun (rtd.); Brig.-Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.); Brig.-Gen. N. Rimtip (rtd.); Cdre T.D. Ikoli; Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’i; Col. A.A. Ariyibi; Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.); and the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu. The panel has Brig-Gen Y.I. Shalangwa as its Secretary.

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