The Federal Government has come to the defence of the embattled Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, concerning the acquisition of properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying he was transparent about it.
The Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), gave this backing on Monday in a statement signed by his Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO), Brig-Gen. Mohammed Sani Ahmed.
Dan-Ali noted that the Army Chief did not hide the properties, as he declared them on more than one occasion to both the Nigerian Army and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“It is on record that Lt-Gen. Buratai has declared his assets as Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and as Chief of Army Staff to the Code of Conduct Bureau. These facts are verifiable with the Bureau,” he stressed.
The Minister posited that the report was deliberately released to embarrass and tarnish the image of Buratai with the ultimate aim of derailing the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.
Dan-Ali noted that there has been a series of attempts in the past to soil the image of the COAS by those he described as “disgruntled and unpatriotic elements”.
He said: “The Ministry of Defence has observed with dismay the online media report of involvement of the Chief of Army Staff and his family over ownership of property in Dubai.
“It is noteworthy that there has been series of concerted efforts in the past by the same medium and its cohorts to tarnish the image of the person of Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai for the reason best known to them, which failed to achieve their desired ulterior motives.
“The Ministry of Defence views this as an attempt by some unpatriotic and disgruntled elements to distract the leadership of the Nigerian Armed Forces from the successes of the war against terror particularly in the North East,” he added.
The Minister said that “while appreciating the role of the media in nation-building, it wishes to equally advise the media to exhibit a high sense of professionalism in the discharge of their duties ,especially when it comes to security and defence related matters”.