By Segun Tomori
Embattled is an under-statement to describe the predicament of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki. He had hugged headlines on account of his house arrest by the Department of State Service (DSS). He was arraigned earlier on illegal possession of arms and ammunition. He cried blue murder claiming the DSS disobeyed court orders obliging him to travel on clearly fictitious medical grounds. Little did we know the authorities were already unearthing a can of worms, with Dasuki emerging a prime suspect.
The Boko haram insurgency seized the nation by the jugular in the hey days of the Jonathan Presidency. Funds that were made available to re-equip the army and bolster its fighting capability had long been suspected to have developed wings but we never imagined the heist to be on the scale we’ve been hearing these past days. $2.1b of arms funds were allegedly commandeered and turned into a bazaar by Mr Dasuki. He soon converted his office into a multi-purpose ATM, dispensing cash to cronies, party hacks and favourable media outfits as investigations have so far revealed. Even spiritual matters were not left out as a whooping N1.45b was allegedly paid out for “special prayers”.
The greatest undoing of Dasuki appeared to be his Ex-Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Shuaibu Salisu who has been singing like a canary. He alleged he brought $47m to the Ex-NSA’s residence in 11 suitcases amongst other confessions. Dasuki who had initially feigned ignorance of allegations when brought into EFCC custody had no choice but to spill the beans when confronted with Mr Salisu’s incriminating statements. The beneficiaries of the bazaar are emerging and some are already cooling their heels in detention.
Ex- Sokoto Gov., Attahiru Bafarawa, Ex- Minister of State for Finance Bashir Yuguda and AIT boss, Raymond Dokpesi are among prominent names that have so far been implicated. While Dokpesi claimed he hurled N2.1b for publicity contract duly approved by Jonathan; Bafarawa was allegedly gifted with N100m for yet to be ascertained purposes while his son, Sagir Bafarawa acting as a front for him, got N4.6b. Mr Yuguda received N1.5b through a company for unstated purposes. The list is endless with several PDP chieftains including its ex-national chairman, Haliru Mohammed amongst others, indicted.
Monies voted to turn the tide against Boko haram became slush fund for Dasuki and his elite team of bandits. “Our soldiers are indolent as they are well-equipped” so he claimed when they deserted and sometimes refused to fight. Boko haram, a hitherto rag-tag terror group suddenly began to capture territories and formed an Islamic caliphate which soon assumed the “size of Belgium” within Nigeria. Our people were continually murdered in tens of thousands; thousands were abducted while millions were displaced because those that were placed in a position of trust betrayed the nation and inadvertently committed crimes against humanity.
Soldiers, thousands of them that deserted were court-martialled and were due for the hangman’s noose before providence intervened and President Buhari dislodged the “locusts in power”. Had Jonathan been re-elected, our gallant soldiers would have been killed for no fault of theirs while marauders like Dasuki and co. would have sat pretty cool in their cozy offices, fleecing the public till. Woe betides anyone who canvasses human rights for Dasuki! What human rights will be canvassed for the thousands whose loved ones are no more as a result of the inactions and plundering of the Ex-NSA?
I insist the President ought to be granted emergency powers by the National Assembly if need be to deal with the niceties of the law in unravelling the unfolding mind boggling heist. People that have committed crimes akin to treason cannot be allowed to escape the long arms of the law by hiding under frivolous court injunctions. Thankfully, Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) act 2015 seems to address this, it states that “application for stay of proceedings shall no longer be heard until judgement and cannot operate to stall continuation of trial”. The implementation of provisions of this act will assist in speeding up trial but more needs to be done in removing legal encumbrances.
President Buhari alluded to this fact at a keynote address yesterday at the Anyiam-Osigwe foundation lecture. “Our laws need to be strengthened if we must realistically contend with the haze of corruption, we must correct the gaps in our legal system that are exploited to frustrate the process of justice” he affirmed. The President said it all, and he must lead the way in correcting this anomaly. To underscore his seriousness, Buhari should send a bill to the National Assembly that will incorporate special courts for corruption and stiffen the existing anti-corruption laws.
The only succour we can give to the grieving families that are traumatised by the loss of their loved ones is to ensure Dasuki and his accomplices face justice. Convictions that will earn them long years behind bars should be the irreducible minimum. We must use them as examples that never again shall Nigeria tolerate the impunity of the Jonathan administration. In this fight, it must be no retreat, no surrender!
Segun Tomori, a Public Affairs Analyst can be reached via 08062672869; Twitter, @seguntomori
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