EXCLUSIVE: How Ex-Army Chief Buratai Used Nigerian Army Property Firm To Obtain Saudi Citizenship; Major General In Charge Secretly Detained For One Year To Cover Up His Money Laundering Schemes

SaharaReporters gathered that Maj. Gen. Mohammed, until his arrest and secret detention for the last one year, was in charge of the Nigerian Army Property Limited (NAPL).

The Nigerian Army is secretly detaining Maj-Gen. U. M. Mohammed, a close ally of the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for exposing how he laundered funds for the latter, SaharaReporters has learnt.

SaharaReporters gathered that Maj. Gen. Mohammed, until his arrest and secret detention for the last one year, was in charge of the Nigerian Army Property Limited (NAPL).

According to sources, Mohammed is being punished on behalf of Buratai with whom he was involved in illegalities and shady dealings as instructed by the former Army chief while in office.

As the officer in charge of NAPL, Mohammed controls army properties across the country.

While being court-martialled, Mohammed, who had been arrested and held in secret detention since January 2022, confessed that Buratai asked him to pay $730,000 to obtain Saudi Arabia citizenship for him (Buratai) in order to evade justice for the atrocities committed by the army while he was the chief of staff.

Meanwhile, the court-martial has been going on secretly since September 2022.

Checks by SaharaReporters revealed that he was initially arrested for “terrorism financing” to cover up for the real reason behind his ordeal.

“The officer who controls army properties all over Nigeria said in his court-marshal hearing being secretly held since September 2022 that Buratai asked him to pay $730,000 to obtain Saudi Arabia citizenship to avoid being sent to the International Criminal Court upon expiration of his ambassadorial posting to Benin Republic,” one of the sources said.

Meanwhile, military sources told SaharaReporters that General Mohammed who is currently ill has spent one week in the intensive care unit of the NAOWA clinic in Abuja.

According to sources, the Army authorities have restricted public access and any form of visitation to the general.

It was learnt that Mohammed who hails from Niger state is senior to the current Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, having been part of 36 Regular Course of the Nigerian Army.

Sources revealed that normally General Mohammed ought to have retired two years ago, adding that because of the intention of the army authorities to punish him, “the army authorities refused to retire him, instead kept him in detention.”

“He was arrested in January 2022 and detained at the Nigerian Army military police guardroom in Abuja.”

Sources also told SaharaReporters that General Mohammed had agreed to expose Buratai when the late Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru became the Chief of Army Staff.

Unfortunately, before he could “spill the beans, Attahiru died under tragic circumstances in a plane crash in Kaduna,” one of the sources said. “The plane was a twin-engine aircraft which was not suitable for his rank.”

But while being court-martialled, one of the sources said Mohammed has “already revealed to the army that since 2019, Buratai has used his position to buy properties for politicians including the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and also used the NAPL to fund President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 presidential campaign”.

“Last week at the Command Guest House inside Abacha Barrack where the trial was taking place, General Mohammed asked to be released so that he can provide earthshaking evidence about Buratai’s unprecedented corruption, including how he was forced to build a big bakery in Biu where he was last posted before his arrest,” a source said.

Another source said, “Buratai appointed him and then in the cause of time, I think there was an issue after Buratai exited.

“Mohammed has taken ill several times, sometimes life-threatening. They have refused to release him and he is being prosecuted right now. He has applied for bail several times but they were refused and court-martial is not the regular court where certain things, like matters of fundamental human rights, are important.”

SaharaReporters had exposed the discovery of billions in cash meant for arms and ammunition to fight Boko Haram in an Abuja home linked to Buratai.

SaharaReporters in 2022 exclusively reported how the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) recovered funds (including foreign currencies) from the house registered to someone fronting for Buratai – a military contractor and Managing Director of K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kabiru Sallau.

Also recovered were G-Wagon; 2022 editions of BMW and Mercedes Benz cars; customized mobile phones; several designer wristwatches, including three Rolexes, and some property documents.

Buratai, a retired Lieutenant General was the COAS between 2015 and 2021.

SaharaReporters gathered that the huge cash was part of the billions of naira earmarked for the purchase of arms and ammunition by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, did not answer calls from SaharaReporters nor reply to the text message sent to him.

Simon Ekpa

Simon Ekpa LL.M (Master of Laws) is a human rights activist, CEO, senior legal advisor at Ekpa & Co Oy, legal researcher, author, analyst, Finnish politician, Biafra agitator and a Finnish Military reserve.
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