WHY NIGER-DELTA REMAIN UNDER-DEVELOPED?…HERE IS ONE EXAMPLE!…ARMY COLONEL COURT MARTIALED FOR RECEIVING N150 MILLION FROM FORMER GOVERNOR SYLVA SAYS IT BELONGED TO LATE NSA AZAZI

Owoye Azazi

Lt. Col. David Ahangba, a former special assistant to late National Security Adviser General Owoye Azazi, has been courtmartialed for illegally receiving the sum of N150million from the Bayelsa State government.  He is telling the court it belonged to his former boss, who was killed in an air crash last year.

Ahangba faces four counts of receiving the money after he suggested a project to officials of Bayelsa State Government, the money for which would be used to induce General Azazi to assist Timipriye Sylva’s second term bid as governor.  

The court-martial is being presided over by Brig. Gen. EO Nze (N/7920).  Members are: Col PS Obaje (N/9383); Col. AOI Kalejaiye (N/9422); Col. GA Nosike (N/9629); and Col. MB Akilu (N/9647).  The Judge Advocate is Capt. CW Okonkwo (N/12289) while the Waiting Member is Col. CA Thomas (N/9616).

Ahangba joined General Azazi’s staff when the latter became Army Chief of Staff in 2006, at the General’s request, and was assigned to engineering services, principally construction and maintenance of Azazi’s properties in Bayelsa, Abuja, Lagos, supervision of other projects, and liaison with dignitaries.  He also liaised with the Joint Task Force headquarters to secure helicopters to fly the late General and to arrange hotel accommodation.

According to Ahangba, it was in that connection that during preparations for the wedding of General Azazi’s son in September 2011, he was instructed by his boss to act as a liaison to Governor Sylva.  In a subsequent meeting in Bayelsa, the governor spoke of his political travails and discussed his desire to meet with the General to discuss a way out.  

Following that meeting, General Azazi told Ahangba to stand by as someone would bring the sum of N150m, about which he would receive further directives.  When the funds were brought by an unknown person the following day, there were deposited in a First Bank Account of Roberta Nig. Ltd, which had been opened at the instructions of General Azazi.

Our source said, “Prior to the opening of the account, monies given to Lt. Col. Ahangba by the late General for projects or deposits were deposited in the Colonel’s salary account but due to the fact that the amounts were huge sum of money and for security purposes (to protect the Colonel from questions by operatives which could link the late General), the General directed that the company account be opened. He further directed that the Colonel open a domiciliary account. These accounts were basically operated for the purpose stated above. It is to be noted that the company account was opened without the coordination/direction of the Colonel as staff of First Bank merely collected his details and specimen of his signature and the opening was in his absence. During cross-examination, it was revealed that the Colonel had no option to the opening of the account as he acted on the instruction of the General.”

The source further disclosed that while in Lagos, the sum of N68million was received on the Lt. Colonel’s behalf.  Following General Azazi’s instructions, three further Union Bank account numbers were forwarded for the money to be lodged in.  The late General further informed him that the total sum of N83million was forwarded to him as against the N150 million because N67million was forwarded to one of his engineers for investment in his estates in Abuja. The total sum of money received by the Colonel was released from the accounts as directed by the late General.

Just three months after the money was first received, that is, in December 2011), Ahangba was discreetly informed by the General that “very serious” trouble relating to the late General’s career and personality was brewing and needed to be tactically checked, and that Ahangba was the only person who could bail him out.

The general then revealed to the Colonel that the deal with the Bayelsa governor had leaked to the presidency and the General was accused of working with the opposition and had collected money from them.  It would be recalled that Governor Sylva was locked in a battle for the governorship with President Jonathan who reportedly wanted him out.

“The late General informed the Colonel of the blue print on how to resolve the trouble, which involved the Colonel making a written statement in the house of the late General and under his directions. The statement was collected by the General and taken to Abuja to be submitted as an official report of the conduct of Lt. Col. Ahangba. He was assured that the was required to give the statement a face lift and to further buttress this point, he called officials of Bayelsa State and directed them to prepare contract papers to cover the deal,” our source revealed.

These manoeuvres were still on, with Ahangba summoned to Abuja for a provost martial interview.

In the meantime, Sylva lost his bid for a second term as governor.  General Azazi then lost his position as the National Security Adviser, and was killed in a helicopter crash last year.  

According to our source, during cross-examination at the commencement of trial, Colonel Ahangba had reneged from the blue print by declaring that the statements he made were not voluntary and of his own accord.  General Azazi however assured him again and instructed him to withdraw from the position taken to which the trial-within-trial was discontinued.

It is to be noted that he was initially requested by the Nigerian Army to return the sum of N83million to the Government of Bayelsa State through the Nigerian Army, while no allegation was made against him.

CHARGE AGAINST LT. COL. AHANGBA

COUNT 1:

Statement of Offence:

Conduct to the prejudice of service discipline contrary to and punishable under Section 103(1) AFA (Armed Forces Act) CAP A20.

Particulars of Offence

In that you, on or about October 2011, pursuant to 2011 gubernatorial elections of Bayelsa State, at Bayelsa Government House Yenagoa, suggested a project and received a sum of One Hundred and Fifty million Naira (N 150,000,000.00) from the officials of Bayelsa State Government to the effect that it would be used as an inducement and influence on the then National Security Adviser(NSA) General Patrick Owoye Azazi to assist Governor Timipriye Sylva by causing the voters in the NSA’s community to vote in support of the said governor’s second term bid as Governor of Bayelsa State.

COUNT 2:

Statement of Offence

Obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Section 419 CC (Criminal Code) CAP C38 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 114 AFA LFN.

Particulars of Offence

In that you, on or about October 2011, at Yenagoa Bayelsa State, fraudulently obtained the sum of about One Hundred and fifty Million Naira (N150,000,000.00) from Bayelsa State Government under the false pretence that it would be used in executing community development projects at Foutorugbene, Ogbotubo, Toro-Ndoroand Amabulou communities of Bayelsa State prior to the 2011 Bayelsa State gubernatorial elections.

COUNT 3:

Statement of Offence

Disobedience to standing orders, that is Cap 24:02 of HTACOS (Officers) 2012 (revised), contrary to and punishable under Section 57(1) of the AFA (Cap A20) LFN 2004.

Particulars of Offence

In that you, on or about October 2011, at Bayelsa State, engaged in a private business by proposing a contract to Governor Timipriye Silver of Bayelsa State and receiving a sum of One hundred and Fifty  Million (N 150,000,000.00) from the officials of Bayelsa State Government as a consideration for this said contract, contrary to Chapter 24:02 of HTACOS (Officers) 2007 (revised by HTACOS 2012) which prohibits commissioned offices engaging in private business or trade.
COUNT 4:
Statement of Offence

Conduct to the prejudice of service discipline contrary to and punishable under section 103(1) AFA CAP A20.

Particulars of Offence

In that you, on or about October 2011, received a sum of about One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N 150,000,000.00) from the officials of Bayelsa State Government in the name and on behalf of the then Security Adviser (NSA), General Patrick Owoye Azazi for the benefit of his community without informing the NSA.

2 comments on “WHY NIGER-DELTA REMAIN UNDER-DEVELOPED?…HERE IS ONE EXAMPLE!…ARMY COLONEL COURT MARTIALED FOR RECEIVING N150 MILLION FROM FORMER GOVERNOR SYLVA SAYS IT BELONGED TO LATE NSA AZAZI

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