The Federal Government has added its voice to that of the Army and Defence Headquarters in defence of the integrity of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-General Yusuf Buratai, who was reported to own a property in Dubai, with some members of his family, saying it should be discountenanced.
The Guardian recalls that an online medium had reported that the COAS and some members of his family own an undeclared luxurious apartment in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE), acquired when he was the Army Director of Procurement, thereby putting a question mark on his integrity.
The Army Headquarters had come out to defend the COAS through a statement issued by the acting spokesman Col. Sani Usman that the â€œsmear campaignâ€ against their boss should be disregarded.
Yesterday, in an obvious show of solidarity and defence of their key appointees, the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali said the report is viewed as â€œan attempt by some unpatriotic and disgruntled elements to distract the leadership of the Armed Forces from the successes of war against terror, particularly in the North East.â€
The minister reacted to the issue in a one-paged press statement, signed by the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Minister, Brig-General Mohammed Ahmed, given to newsmen in Abuja, after they were asked to come for a press conference with the Minister. However, the Minister seemed to have a change of mind and instead gave out the directive for a statement be issued containing his reaction.
It said â€œthere has been series of conceited efforts in the past by the same medium (names withheld) and its cohorts to tarnish the image of the person of Lt. General Buratai for reasons best known to themâ€¦â€
The statement explained that the COAS had declared his assets as Commander Multi National Joint Task Force and as Chief of Army Staff to the Code of Conduct Bureau, which are verifiable. The Ministry advised the media to be circumspect in carrying out their professional responsibility, â€œespecially when it comes to security and defence-related matters.
â€œWe assure that this government will not harbour personalities with dubious character. Therefore the online report should be disregarded in its entirety.â€