The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), already enmeshed in the $15billion arms deal, is being fingered in the alleged disappearance of another $40million (N13.6billion) approved by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan ostensibly for the negotiation of freedom for the Chibok girls, The Nation Newspaper reports this morning.
According to the report, The Nation Newspaper gathered on good authority yesterday that part of the supposed deal was for Boko Haram to concede to a demand for ceasefire.
The under-the-table negotiation was however botched because the Boko Haram leadership was not interested in the deal.
The whereabouts of the cash is now unknown, prompting a probe by the Federal Government.
One report suggested that the money was handed over to the president of a neighbouring country, while another said it was in the ‘custody’ of a former presidential aide.
The cash was allegedly drawn from the ONSA by the former top presidential aide.
A source familiar with the development said:”The government is probing how about $40million was allegedly spent by the administration of ex-President Jonathan to ‘negotiate’ with Boko Haram. The cash was allegedly withdrawn from the ONSA account by a former presidential aide.
“The said aide alleged that the cash was routed through the Presidents of a neighbouring country, but preliminary tracking showed that the money might have been diverted.
“Many people have been linked with the negotiation, but the government, through relevant anti-graft agencies, is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of the funds. We have started inviting those connected with the deal for interaction.
“Even the ex-President in January 2016 said in an interview with a news website, Quartz, in Geneva, Switzerland that his administration did not set up any negotiation team.
“I did not negotiate with Boko Haram. The government never set up a team,” Quartz quoted him as saying.
The Boko Haram leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, responding in one of his video messages to claims of negotiation with government, had said: “We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It’s a lie. It’s a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not.”
Conitnuing the source said:”So, there could not have been any sum spent on negotiation with Boko Haram, if there was no deal with the sect. You can see that the ongoing investigation of $15billion arms deal in the ONSA has many dimensions.
“The main objective of the government is to recover the $40million.”