No one right now is deceiving themself President Muhammadu Buhari is an anti-corruption crusader and man of integrity. Even his minions find other ways of defending him without it having to come down to that. There is simply no way to justify the fact that cronies who have stashed away trillions of our money that he has had to sack perhaps because he had no other choice are walking around free enjoying their loot.
In a half-sane clime, the President would bend over backward if not for anything the optics of endlessly borrowing billions of dollars overseas every few months, pretend to worry about those accused of looting us dry by prosecuting them and recovering what they have taken. In the ‘bad’ days before Buhari took over, an increase in oil prices meant more money for government but things are getting worse as things stand. Worse than they were when oil sold for $40.Nothing around us suggests our lifeline; oil is now at $76 and still rising.
The humongous looting of our resources under Mr. Integrity provides an easy answer to why either with borrowed or generated funds, this administration has nothing tangible to show.
While Buhari is busy pursuing a fresh N2.3trn loan, below are just 5 corruption cases that hold 25% of that amount. All classical cases of how the monies collected while borrowing our lives away end up.
A Nigerien Arms Dealer Was Handed N166.5bn Of Our Money
Back then the question was why would the Federal Government be in business with Aboubacar Hima; a Nigerien arms dealer who had a reputation for fraud even in his home country. That question was answered for many when President Buhari more or less confirmed the long-standing rumour that he was originally from Niger Republic when he said he had family there and also referred to his cousins living there while justifying the Kano-Maradi rail line project. Several reasons have been put forth as to why this government did business with him, notably that they needed a discreet source of arming bandits/Boko haram. Whether or not that is the case, Hima has been declared wanted by the EFCC for absconding with $394M,€9.9M and N369M meant for the supply of arms. All amounting to a naira total of N166.5 bn.
There were doubts when that news broke too. The EFCC is an appendage of any government in power and what Nigerians looked out for and never saw was Interpol declaring him wanted on our behalf as well. While we are here watching, Aboubacar Hima has wriggled through most of his legal troubles in Niger (bribed through some would say) and at the start of May this year, was announced as the boss of a newly registered company in the Nigerien capital of Niamey; Prininvest.I hope no one out there thinks Buhari is serious about apprehending the man.
Buhari’s Son-In-Law Absconded With $64m
Gimba Yau Kumo was the former Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and it was not until the Presidency issued a statement after a $64M theft was reported in the media that most Nigerians got to know President Buhari’s daughter, Fatima had separated from him. They were married in 2016 in a colorful ceremony in Daura, the President’s hometown in Katsina state. The Presidency did not hand the story of Kumo’s theft to the press, it only confirmed it when word had gotten out. If it had, that would have to be the only valid basis to counter any notion that the President isn’t keen on punishing his (former) in-law. If they really want Kumo arrested, the Presidency has all it takes to make that happen.
Hadiza Bala Usman’s Unremmited N165bn
Hadiza Bala Usman’s removal as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority was quite intriguing. She in addition to being an ally of President Buhari, has been referred to over the years as the ‘unofficial 4th wife’ of Gov.Nasir El-Rufai.In addition to these, she is a northerner in government; from Buhari’s home state to be precise. The word is there was a face-off between her and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi but If she was kicked out, then it means there was a huge scandal no one could save her from without getting burnt themself.
Soon after she was fired, a memo leaked showing she was being accused of not remitting N165 bn into government coffers…And that was it. She is somewhere relaxing-No EFCC, No ICPC, nothing. Nigerians are expected by the Buhari administration to take solace in the fact that she was sacked. As for their money, he will always go and borrow more.
Magu’s Efcc Misdeeds
After the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami wrote President Buhari recommending the removal of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman, a memo by Malami asking all law enforcement agencies not to investigate a case of fraud against the NIRSAL Managing Director, Aliyu Abdulhameed was leaked online. Shortly after, the public also got to know he facilitated the sale of vessels put up for auction to a company standing trial for stealing 12,000 metric tonnes of our crude oil loaded in a vessel. Magu was not one to take everything lying low and it would have been interesting to see the lengths he would go if he was charged to court.
Magu would have probably aired the dirty laundry of the big fish himself; President Buhari. Like I repeatedly say, Buhari was very well aware of who Magu was when he appointed him EFCC Chair and insisted on him despite the disapproval of the Saraki-led Senate. Magu had been indicted by the Police Service Commission in 2010 for tampering and removing EFCC files. And also by the DSS which accused him of living in a N20M per annum residence in Abuja paid for 2 years straight by dubious characters he had been seen fraternizing with. Buhari knew who Magu was and if he still wanted him as the head of EFCC then it meant Magu’s track record suited his motives.
Magu was accused of embezzling the interests accruing from a total N500bn recovered loot amongst other things after reportedly falling out with Malami over the sale of recovered properties to cronies. Malami’s closeness to Buhari meant Magu had to make way. In a manner that appeared more a ploy to keep it all ‘behind the curtains’, he was brought before a Presidential Panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami (Rtd) which recommended his prosecution.
Magu may have been corrupt but he would definitely have a lot to say about what he helped Buhari and other members of his government do. They wouldn’t want that so Magu has been left in peace with all that they themselves agreed he stole.
N140bn Nddc Fraud…The Mic Is Still Off
The popular verdict on the NDDC probe embarked upon by National Assembly is that those pointing fingers have 3 each pointing back at them so it is in everyone’s best interest that the matter is left to wither away. Godswill Akpabio was recruited in time to play a key role for Buhari in the 2019 presidential elections; he was there to provide a basis for Buhari’s outrageous triumph in an entire 2 Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom state.
A lot of people say the President has left the NDDC matter for Akpabio (who is being accused of erecting a fence for N300M) to handle. He also happens to know how members of both houses from the Niger Delta solicited and got contracts from NDDC they never executed. Uniting their interests and burying the hatchet at the expense of Nigerian taxpayers’ was the best way out for them.Sen.Peter Nwaoboshi, the Chairman of the Senate committee on NDDC who sensationally cast the first stone at Akpabio, decamped to the APC just days ago. Speaker of the house, Femi Gbajabiamila said shortly after the NDDC boss’ fainting theatrics that his presence would no longer be required.
Nigerians were told probes would resume as soon as the NASS returned from vacation, nothing has been done to date.
Sums totaling more than N140 bn have been left in the hands of these people who haven’t been arrested talk more prosecuted. Nigerians are supposed to just sit and watch Buhari borrow more trillions in their name to be stashed away. God help us.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano