NIGERIA: THE MILITARY YEARS (Gen. SANI ABACHA)

Money minting machines reportedly used by late Gen. Abacha and his group recovered from Ismaila Gwarzo's house

Special to USAfricaonline.com and http://www.NigeriaCentral.com


The Guardian newspaper in Lagos has reported that more than "200 printing machines suspected to be mini-printers for minting money were recovered from the former National Security Adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, on Thursday (October 21, 1999) in Abuja." The newspaper stated that it confirmed from intelligence, police sources and eye witnesses that the former security chief who was on fetters was brought to his house at Asokoro on a recovery search.

According to the report by Martins Oloja (The Guardian's Bureau chief` in Abuja) a source, the ex-police chief was accompanied by a team of intelligence officers including mobile police-men. The intelligence officers were said to have come from Yakubu Gowon Barracks, Abuja. The Guardian on Sunday was told that the officers got the key to the house where a thorough search led to recovery of the more than 200 printing machines. Police sources confirmed that the machines "have the same technical data with money-minting machines recovered from suspects before".

The source and eye-witnesses around the house confirmed that the printing/minting machines were promptly packed into a waiting truck and were immediately driven to Police Force Headquarters in Abuja.The former security chief's neighbors said they were shocked when they first sighted their once - dreaded neighbour who was said to be a quiet operator and night crawler "who would go out and come in, in the unholy hours." Our source could however, not confirm whether Alhaji Gwarzo had confessed to owning them (machines) or again he was just a "post master" he once claimed to be for the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, when large sums of money were allegedly recovered from him after the death of Abacha.The Guardian on Sunday could not confirm where the former security chief is currently being held.


EDITORIAL COMMENT
Investigating corruption regarding Nigeria's Military
USAfricaonline.com and NigeriaCentral.com believe that the issue of corruption under the military has been at the core of its failings across the African continent.

The lack of accountability and raw use of state power for private enrichment has also caused the collapse of many economies in the continent. Particularly in the case of Nigeria, the huge and yawning gap between the modest salaries and opulent lifestyles of most members of the country's armed forces (and it must said members of the civilian society) reflect a fundamental question about how those funds were (and are) acquired.

Hence, the challenge by former Governor of Kaduna State Balarabe Musa that Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo, should look into the stupendous amount of monies alleged to have been essentially ill-gotten wealth should be taken seriously. Many doubt that Obasanjo, himself a retired army general, will probe his former colleagues. But he has also shown a capacity to take some decisive actions.

USAfricaonline.com and NigeriaCentral.com will support any fair and judicious effort to harness and protect the resources of Nigerians, without such a process becoming a witch-hunt. The other issue is not just how far back, but how deep and thorough will such investigations go? by Chido Nwangwu


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