ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's president has ordered an investigation into military hardware purchases under his two predecessors to try to root out corruption and fulfill his election promise of stopping Islamist group Boko Haram's insurgency, the presidency said on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has told the National Security Adviser (NSA) to set up a panel to look into defense procurement over the past eight years, when the People's Democratic Party was in power, his spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.
The 13-member panel consists mainly of retired military officers but also includes an executive from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Adesina said.
Buhari took office on May 29 after an election victory that owed much to his vow to defeat Boko Haram, whose fighters have killed thousands and left about 1.5 million people displaced in Africa's most populous country.
Nigeria's military has repeatedly said it needs better weapons to fight the militants.
Two decades ago the military was seen as a force for stability across West Africa with its relatively well-trained and better-equipped troops. Now it struggles to keep control as the six-year-old insurgency even threatens neighboring states.
"The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations," the statement said.
Buhari has said Nigeria planned to ramp up the domestic production of weapons for its armed forces, in an effort to cut the country's dependence on imported arms.
Last year a diplomatic row blew up after South Africa seized $15 million in funds which Nigeria said was for legitimate deals procuring weapons for its armed forces.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Louise Ireland)