Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman

The Presidency has disclosed that the unspent balance from Excess Crude Account now stands at $123.1million

The Presidency made the disclosure to PUNCH in response to the request by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for President Muhammadu Buhari administration to explain how it spent the controversial $1billion approved from the Excess Crude Account in 2017 to fund security operations.

The opposition party had in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan on Sunday, accused the Buhari administration of using his “agents” to siphon the $1bn into financing the 2019 general elections, as against using it to fund security operations.

The party cited a recent comment by the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Monguno, who was quoted to have said he had no information on what happened to the $1bn.

Monguno had on June 20, while responding to a state house reporters’ question as to what happened to the said funds noted that: “The $1bn I believe that you are talking about was actually earmarked for the military, not for security agencies, like the intelligence community and the paramilitary agencies.

“It was earmarked for the military. As much as I know, whether it was given to them, I really don’t know.”

However, in response to an email inquiry by PUNCH, the Presidency attacked the PDP for speaking “rubbish” and suffering from “socio-emotional distress”.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu who gave the response said: “The record we have is that the Buhari administration paid $496,374,470 for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft for the Air Force in a direct, government-to-government (no contractors or commissioned agents) transaction with the United States government. They are due for delivery in 2020.

“Other military procurement for critical equipment has been made. These are for the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy, amounting to $380,513,958,71. The procurement include money for the purchase of Navy Lynx helicopters. Total amount spent so far, $876,888,428.71.

“The equipment paid for have due dates of delivery of between six months to two years.

“Balance of the money that is unspent as at today is $123,111,571.29.”

He added, “All USD 1,000 million was domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria and to date, not a single dollar of it has been transferred to the Ministry of Defence or any other ministry, agency of government, individuals or political party office as was the norm under the PDP administration.

“We note that the PDP made so much of a report claiming that the NSA had declared the entire amount of USD 1,000 million as missing.”

Shehu said it was doubtful whether Monguno made the statement attributed to him.

“The NSA will not have said this. Without approval of end-user certification as issued by his office, no arms can lawfully enter Nigeria.

“In these days of fake news, citizens including political parties pretending to the role opposition parties, must be careful about the reports they work with.

“The PDP spent defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proved in court. That is not to say that every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same.”‌