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Nigeria's president accuses former official of stealing money meant to fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed a former top official stole billions of dollars meant to fight terrorists. The controversy comes less than a day after a terrorist attack left scores dead and wounded.

Buhari issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for the former president's national security advisor, accusing him of stealing billions of dollars allotted for weapons to be used against the terror group Boko Haram.

According to the president's office, Sambo Dasuki, an advisor to former President Goodluck Jonathan, awarded contracts to buy helicopters, fighter jets and munition worth $2.9 billion (2.7 billion euros) - none of which ever materialized.

"Thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided" if the funds had been properly allotted, an advisor to the president said in a statement.

Corruption and terrorism

The decision to arrest Dasuki follows government findings that similar "phantom contracts" amounting to $5.4 billion have been awarded since 2007. The report was part of Buhari's ongoing efforts to address the systemic corruption in his country's government.

Dasuki, who was fired by the current president back in July, denied the charges.

The president's announcement comes less than a day after an explosion in a busy marketplace, killing

at least 32 people and wounding 80

. Many have suggested that Boko Haram, the "Islamic State"-affiliated terror group based in Nigeria, is to blame for the attack.

blc/jil (AP, dpa)

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