The Unjust Persecution Of Badeh -By Folarin Adesanya

Filed under: Life And People,National Issues |
Air Marshal Alex Badeh (Rtd)

Air Marshal Alex Badeh (Rtd)

 

Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh is in the news for the wrong reasons. Sadly, those who have taken it upon themselves to malign him and distort facts of history have forgotten so soon how this same man has sacrificed a lot to keep Nigeria one. The alleged crime for which an unfair media war has been launched against him still exists in the realm of speculations and hearsay. Badeh is yet to be pronounced guilty by a competent court of law, hence he should be seen that way.

Since his unlawful incarceration by the nation’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on February 8, 2016, the public has been bamboozled with falsehood and those who are fast to run to the press have deliberately refused to get their facts correctly. This now leaves many to wonder if the case of the former CDS is that of persecution or prosecution? Is he being hounded for reasons Nigerians are not aware of?

For many misguided Nigerians who might not be privy to the real facts of the matter, this media trial of a well-decorated four star general is okay. But within the military circle and in the eyes of international community, this is a joke taken too far. Many Nigerians may see nothing wrong in this show of shame by the federal government through the EFCC, but in no distant future, we will lick our wounds and pay dearly for this mistake.

The EFCC, since the assumption of office of its acting chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has elevated falsehood and propaganda to new heights. It hides under the guise of ‘sources’ to mislead the gullible public. These are well known facts. So, no one should be fooled when the same anti-graft agency is using the media to mislead the public.

One of such falsehoods was that $1 million was found in the house of the former CDS. Because it (EFCC) cannot boldly come out to defend what is being alleged, they again relied on ‘sources’ to mislead the public. Here is a cut out from The Punch Newspaper, wherein the same faceless EFCC ‘sources’ misled the public.

…according to Punch, an EFCC source said ‘‘We have seized several properties belonging to Badeh. A few days ago, we returned to the mansion located at 6, Ogun River Street, Maitama. In the presence of several witnesses, including neighbours, we searched the house and recovered $1m in cash. The money has been lodged as evidence’.”

Not ready to allow the falsehood to go unchallenged, Badeh refuted the claims. Sadly, the same media that gave wide publicity to the falsehood did not do same to the response by Badeh.

Responding through his lead counsel, Samuel Zibri (SAN), Badeh described the recent misleading report by the EFCC as totally false and wicked. He said: “Our attention has been drawn to the publication by Punch Newspaper of March 7th 2016, to the effect that the sum of $1,000,000(One million US dollars) cash was recovered in the house of Air Chief Marshal A.S Badeh (Rtd). The said publication is not only malicious but wicked. It is totally false and smacks of media campaign of calumny against the person of Air Marshal Alex A Badeh (Rtd).”

In the weeks leading to the recent media onslaught against Badeh, the EFCC had alleged that the former CDS was being investigated over the $2.1 billion arms deal. The same anti-graft agency told the public that five properties acquired by the former CDS had been seized. The ever-misleading EFCC further claimed that Badeh received $800,000 from his Director of Finance.

For those who are keen to know the truth, hear what the former CDS said: “It has been widely reported in the news that I am being investigated over the $2.1 billion arms deal but that is not true. I was not part of Dasuki gate. The claim that five properties were acquired from me from the $2.1billion funds is also false.

“I was Chief of Air staff from Oct 2012 to January 2014 and then appointed CDS. During my time serving as the CDS, funds for weapons were directly released to the Chief of Air Staff, Army Staff and Naval Staff and not to me. I had no control over the funds and yet I am being accused of embezzling weapons’ funds. The office of the CDS had no operational control of the services and had nothing to do with their spending.

“The EFCC’s claim that I received $800,000 from my Director of Finance and Accounts is untrue. I did not receive such money from the erstwhile DFA. If he claims to have given me money, where is the proof? Was it paid into my account? Did I sign for it? In the case of the properties, if they claim the properties are mine and were obtained illegally through proxies then they should go to the court and get an order of forfeiture rather than trying to insist I am the owner of the properties.

“It is unfortunate that the media has unwittingly allowed itself to be used by interested parties to become judge, jury and executioner in my case. Even when they claimed billions were found in accounts of wives of some past Air Force officers, none was found with my family yet EFCC keeps generalizing and making it look like my family is involved too.

For a former Chief of the Defence Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Policy and Plans HQ NAF (2010), Director R&D DHQ Abuja, Commander of Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) (2002) and Director of National Military Strategy NDC (2006), this trial and assassination of character is grossly unfair and unjust.

 

—Adesanya wrote in from Offa

 

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