$2.1bn arms deal, N17bn airport: Al-Makura, Maku in verbal war

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Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has called for the probe of the failure of Mr Labaran Maku to rescue the Chibok girls as the supervising Minister of Defence in the last administration.
This is contained in a statement by the Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Tukur Ahmed, on Sunday in Lafia .
The statement said the probe was necessary in the interest of justice and fairness to the parents and guardians of the 200 female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State.
According to the governor, the ongoing trial of the accused persons in the embezzlement of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase should not exclude “those who allegedly collected money in the name of securing the release of Chibok girls but never did”.
Al-Makura noted that the investigation will go a long in revealing “how Maku, as Information Minister deceived Nigerians on the purported release of the Chibok girls”.
“It was alleged that the former Minister also collected several millions of Naira under the guise that they were negotiating for the release of Chibok girls from Boko Haram”, he added.
He pointed out that Maku’s recent assurance that he will speak up on the $2.1bn arms deal is a ploy to draw public sympathy.
The governor also challenged Maku to explain his role in the Ombatse and Baba Alakyo Saga over the killings of 86 security operatives while he was supervising the federal ministry of defence.
The statement commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to defeat Boko Haram, saying the insurgents are in disarray.
It called on all Nigerians especially the residents of the North East to support “this patriotic and honest drive to bring lasting peace”.
In a related development, Maku advised Al-Makura against building N17 billion airport in Lafia, the state capital.
He said that instead of building the airport, the governor should provide other infrastructure that would spread across the state.
Maku, a 2015 gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state, gave the advice while speaking with newsmen in his country home in Wakama, Akun Development Area.
He said this amount could be used to provide other infrastructure for the people to provide them job opportunities, fight poverty and boost their living standard.
“What Lafia needs is an airstrip, where aircraft can land in case some very important personalities may visit the state for one reason or the other.

“For Al-Makura to build N17 billion airport in Kwandare, his village, is not the priority of the people of the state for now.

“The money can be used to establish factories, industries, construct rural roads, provide potable water and electricity to the rural populace.

“There is a high rate of poverty among the people, especially at the grassroots, a problem that has been compounded by lack of access roads, electricity and drinkable water,” he said

He called on the Federal Government and the aviation authority to reverse the construction of an airport in Lafia at this time of economic hardship.

The former information minister also urged Nigerians to use the Yuletide to continue to pray for peaceful coexistence in the nation.

According to him, no nation or country can achieve meaningful progress without peace.
Al-Makura, on December 11, inaugurated N17 cargo airport project in Kwandare, Lafia.

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