The latest arms deal saga started after several days of siege laid on Sambo Dasuki’s house by the Directorate of State Security was called off. This followed relief granted him by a court to travel abroad after he had been stopped by the DSS.
The retired colonel and former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan was to travel abroad to attend to his health after his arraignment for illegal possession of arms and money laundering among other serious charges preferred against him by the state. It is both an astounding and intriguing coincidence that the urgent need to travel abroad on health ground has become the convenient excuse among leading members of the Jonathan administration that have been accused of corruption or one infraction of the law or another?
It is as if that administration was dominated by sick Nigerians going by the rate at which several of its members have or are coming down with ill-health. Yet, Nigeria’s derelict health care system, a death trap to the poor who cannot afford to embark on medical tourism, owes a lot to the leadership of this same people and their ilk from previous administrations.
But rather than allow Dasuki travel abroad, the State claimed he was yet to respond to an invitation sent to him by a committee investigating award of contracts for the procurement of arms for the military under the previous Peoples Democratic Party-led administrations. The NSA disputed the claim that he had been invited to appear before any panel. According to the investigative panel’s report, the NSA’s office was involved in a shady deal that involved the procurement of arms for the military in its fight against insurgency up to the tune of $2.2 billion. Dasuki’s response, when he finally spoke on the arms procurement deal, was that he did nothing without the authorisation of President Jonathan. Jonathan, in faraway US, denied knowledge of any such contract, wondering where the money for that could have come from. But the EFCC has gone ahead with its investigation that the PDP has dubbed a witch-hunt of its members.
There have been some interesting revelations since the EFCC first commenced its investigations. The crux of all these is that the majority of the accused persons are suspected to have simply taken their share of the NSA’s largesse and walked away without delivering what they were paid to deliver.
No wonder our military most times performed no better than a platoon of boys scouts in their many encounters with the Boko Haram. They were randomly and comprehensively sacked from their bases and from one town to another by a group such as Boko Haram that in the main lacks the discipline of a professional force.
It’s indeed worrisome to note that the individuals accused of involvement in this scam possess no clear or apparent business link to the military, to say nothing of their qualification for the contract awarded them.
What seems clear from the details that have so far come out is the corrupt network of patronage system set up to simply rip apart the national treasury while putting back nothing of value.
Well, that’s for those among the accused ready to betray any knowledge of an arms procurement deal. Otherwise, most of them have simply washed their hands off the entire business, claiming total ignorance of the matter.
While Bafarawa is alleged to have been paid hundreds of millions of Naira for spiritual consultation to Dasuki, Dokpesi claims the N2.1 billion he received from Dasuki was for providing publicity for the PDP during the last general election.
Leaving aside the highly partisan and somewhat unprofessional coverage of the elections by Dokpesi’s media outfits, it remains a mystery that only Dasuki and Dopkesi can resolve whatever professional links existed between the office of the NSA and a political party that could justify the kind of payment made to Dokpesi.
Was the PDP an arm of the security apparatus that Dasuki thought it necessary to fund its media activities? Does this payment not prove the corrupt link between the office of the NSA and the national security apparatus on the one hand, and the unconscionable service into which the security forces were put in the service of the PDP in the series of elections that culminated in the 2015 general elections?
The likes of Bukola Saraki have simply denied any complicity in the deal and gone ahead to propose a gag order to be placed on social and online media platforms that they hold responsible for linking them to the unfolding arms saga. In all his years as governor and senator, Saraki was not known to have supported any of the initiatives aimed at enhancing press freedom. But now for his own selfish reason, he and his surrogates at the National Assembly (they never do anything for the interest of the public) have decided to muzzle the press.
There are lots of questions begging for answers yet even if issues are being unnecessarily muddled up to look like somebody is out to deny others their rights under the law. Buhari and Dasuki may not see eye to eye going by their past relationship in the military and Dasuki’s role in the ouster of Buhari from power. But that is no reason to see every issue involving the two as one of personal vendetta. It’s possible the Buhari administration might have been less resolute in its investigation of the arms scam had it involved someone other than Dasuki. But that’s a possibility nobody can prove for as it seems now, Dasuki has a case to answer. What we should all demand is that the investigation should be as transparent as it could be and that the law should not in anyway be trampled upon. Beyond all of this, it is simply unacceptable that some people can just sit somewhere, as it seems is the case here, and decide to share out Nigeria’s wealth among themselves.
If nobody else is asking questions, the blood of innocent Nigerians sent to their untimely death by Boko Haram bombs, killed in villages and towns captured by the group, and the military personnel ordered to battle the insurgents with no weapons- the blood of these Nigerians cry out for justice. These people had no opportunity for foreign medical checks nor were they allowed to choose where to be treated. They were simply dispatched to the great beyond in the most horrendous fashion, often with the deliberate connivance of men and women who chose to keep for themselves funds that could have been used to procure needed weapons to protect us all.