Beyond Sambo Dasuki, Audit Entire Boko Haram Spending Chain -By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

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Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

 

Buhari will do well to bring to justice, the public servants and those in the armed forces who danced on the graves of innocent men, women and children in the North-East. We were not fooled seeing how the war on terror coincided with the increasing opulence of the Generals. Under Ihejirika, the Nigerian Army became one huge hierarchy of fraud. To our face, the once proud and world renowned army that had kept the peace around the world became a terrible joke. Nigerian soldiers fought with bare hands, wore fake bullet proof vests and died needlessly because some people got rich. Thousands of civilians were killed and thousands more displaced, because the army was ill equipped and could not fight.

President Goodluck Jonathan was going to precipitate the greatest humanitarian disaster in Africa, until pressure was brought to bear on him before the last presidential election and moments after. His defeat and departure was a huge relief to Nigerians and friends of Nigeria. The rest of Africa was happy to see him go because he could not provide the leadership expected of Nigeria by the rest of Africa. He had no control, no say and no input in his own government. He was just there. He did nothing right. Among his many failures was the lack of internal security. Under him, the National Security Adviser’s (NSA) office became one huge money laundering office.

Apart from fraudulent subsidy payments, oil theft and the direct looting of crude sales, the next drainpipe was the security/defence budgets. An audit will reveal the ugly underbelly of the Nigerian Army, the NSA’s office, the sponsors of terror and the individuals and families benefitting from the deaths and insecurity in the North-East.

It will amount to stating the obvious that a lot of high crimes and financial treason were committed under Jonathan. For Nigeria to work again for Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari must be dogged in his determination to unearth these crimes. The war on terror must undergo an audit. The caveat is that he should be prepared for the fallouts of the investigation because when he pulls the twig of the NSA’s office under Jonathan, a lot will unravel from the bushes of the Jonathan administration and the war on terror. Apart from fraudulent subsidy payments, oil theft and the direct looting of crude sales, the next drainpipe was the security/defence budgets. An audit will reveal the ugly underbelly of the Nigerian Army, the NSA’s office, the sponsors of terror and the individuals and families benefitting from the deaths and insecurity in the North-East.

Major General Sarkin Yaki Bello, the counter-terrorism coordinator under Jonathan should be asked to account for his stewardship. What were his achievements as the coordinator of counter-terrorism over a four-year period? What were the functions of his office? Was he there just to collect allocations like so many other agencies of government? Where did he get the money to contest the governorship of Kebbi State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Sambo Dasuki was never alone in the conspiracy and sabotage. His office was one huge scam! The President has to ask Sarkin Yaki Bello what he did with the huge allocations in dollars for counter-terrorism efforts. Sambo and company cornered billions of naira in dollar equivalent for their selfish interests. If they deposited the money in banks, let the state confiscate it. Their McMansions in Abuja and their villages should be forfeited.

Is there any Nigerian outside government circles who has heard or benefitted from deradicalisation? Where, if any, did the deradicalisation take place? Who are those that were deradicalised? What were the measurement, verification and validation procedures for deradicalisation?

Within the NSA’s office, a lot of money was voted to sensitise people to the threats of violent extremism, to identify and strengthen credible voices in communities and collate data on religious figures, sects, places of worship, and capture the kind of teachings propagated in schools and worship centres in a programme called deradicalisation. The programme was designed to strengthen the channels of distribution of counter-narratives, conduct training for peace initiatives between inter-religious and intra-faith groups, identify and start-up small businesses in flash point states and to work with law enforcement agencies to increase the reach of community policing in Nigeria. It was headed by the Director in charge of Behavioural Analysis domiciled in the Office of the NSA. Who was that? The director is Halilu Akilu’s daughter – Dr. Fatima Akilu. Is there any Nigerian outside government circles who has heard or benefitted from deradicalisation? Where, if any, did the deradicalisation take place? Who are those that were deradicalised? What were the measurement, verification and validation procedures for deradicalisation? President Buhari must ask these questions.

This wholesale import (deradicalisation) from the West was not localised. It was just another Ponzi scheme meant to siphon money from the treasury. The programme, boosted by the European Union was meant to involve officials of the Nigerian Prisons Service, who are to implement certain components of the exercise intended to drastically reduce insurgency in the long run. How many people from the Prisons Service were trained in this programme till date? What were the results of the money they requested for? What the did they do with all the money? The West conceived this idea and it worked for them because the security of their homeland is foremost in everyone’s mind and no one out there is looking to personally enrich themselves with government funds. Even if and when they do, the risk far outweighs the benefit. In Nigeria, it is an avenue for making money no matter the number of lives lost.

It is sad that people who are saddled with immense responsibilities do not see it as a trust, instead they see it as opportunity to loot and punish beleaguered Nigerians. Their acquisitions were very primitive without an atom of enlightened self-interest.

Buhari will do well to bring to justice, the public servants and those in the armed forces who danced on the graves of innocent men, women and children in the North-East. We were not fooled seeing how the war on terror coincided with the increasing opulence of the Generals. Under Ihejirika, the Nigerian Army became one huge hierarchy of fraud. To our face, the once proud and world renowned army that had kept the peace around the world became a terrible joke. Nigerian soldiers fought with bare hands, wore fake bullet proof vests and died needlessly because some people got rich. Thousands of civilians were killed and thousands more displaced, because the army was ill equipped and could not fight.

The searchlight on Boko Haram slush funds should be beamed on General Ihejirika, his successor and the Armed Forces hierarchy. He should be taken in and stripped of his money and his Disneyland estate in Abia State. Same goes for Air Chief Marshall Badeh and Lieutenant General Minimah and the troop commanders. It is sad that people who are saddled with immense responsibilities do not see it as a trust, instead they see it as opportunity to loot and punish beleaguered Nigerians. Their acquisitions were very primitive without an atom of enlightened self-interest.

How President Buhari deals with Nigeria’s political and economic saboteurs will determine the viability of Nigeria as one united entity.

For the sake of Nigerian youths, Nigeria must be remade. Nigeria must work again. How many of our young people can Europe and North America take? It is heartbreaking to see young Nigerians perish every now and then crossing the Sahara, through the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. It is sad that young Nigerians routinely die in Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia because they see drug peddling as their sole alternative. It is sad that young men in the North-East have taken to Islamic extremism as a way out of their existential dilemma. We must rebuild Nigeria and provide the enabling atmosphere for young people to thrive. We must build a Nigeria where those born and raised in the West will be proud to claim their ancestral land as their home. Nigeria must be great again. The journey ahead is tough for the President. The road is fraught with dangerous bends because the very powerful and hitherto untouchable are Nigeria’s enemies. How President Buhari deals with Nigeria’s political and economic saboteurs will determine the viability of Nigeria as one united entity. I wish him great resolve and all the luck he needs.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times‘ Editorial Board. Twitter @olufunmilayo

 

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