Monday 11 January 2016

Nigeria: A view on #DasukiGate

Talk of the day
Nothing has elicited as much comment on social media in Nigeria recently as the interestingly discussed #DasukiGate.
Sambo Dasuki was Nigeria’s National Security Adviser from June 2012 to July 2015. Considering the security challenges Nigeria has had with the Niger Delta unrest and the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast, particularly the terrorist activities that made Boko Haram the most dangerous terrorist brigandage in the world, by reason of the high number of fatalities, an adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be in the position of confidante and counsellor to arrest what had become a deteriorating situation.
Plunder and blunder
The PBS NewsHour show turned the spotlight on Nigeria at the end of November into the beginning of December with a series of programmes under the title Nigeria: Pain and Promise which dealt with a range of socio-economic and political issues.
One of the shows contained the revelation that a demand for $47 million was made by Dasuki’s office from the Central Bank of Nigeria which was delivered in cash in the dead of the night. Another document apparently implicating the former Minister of Petroleum Resources facilitated the payment of $289 million to the National Intelligence Agency, where the budgetary allocation for the agency was only $160 million.
Whatever the case, either by urgency or unction, the said moneys were supposed to obtain military hardware to prosecute the battle against the Boko Haram insurgency which was increasingly troublesome with raids, bombings, massacres and other heinous activity.
Snouts in innocent blood
It transpired that the money obtained never went to the procurement of hardware, but Sambo Dasuki became the bag man of either the President, the Presidency or the ruling party organisation to use the money to buy, seduce, suborn, acquire or frustrate in the quest for favours and allegiance from whoever did not have the moral rectitude to resist the temptation to be lured with filthy lucre.
The fact that seemingly once respectable elders or statesmen of Nigeria never questioned the provenance of the good fortunes that brought this largesse into their bosoms is a moral indictment of a religious country where adherents have neither conscience nor virtue.
However, one cannot fail to notice how the spectre of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pall of stoicism and integrity has influenced events. With the arrest of Sambo Dasuki and though yet to be arraigned before the courts, everyone who appears to have dipped their snouts in the blood of soldiers sent to battle with staves against a well-equipped guerrilla outfit is now singing like a canary about how much came their way by the hand of Dasuki or through his network.
Now, I say ‘dipped their snouts in the blood of soldiers sent to battle’ because the money collected under false pretences to give a well-regulated militia the upper hand against Boko Haram was frittered away in currying favour and gaining support for the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan.
Before we idealise
It should therefore not surprise any right-thinking person if personnel of the Nigerian armed forces at times refused to go into battle or at other times had their bases sacked by Boko Haram because they were ill-equipped to fight or defend their positions, going from the fact that their hardware budget was being dispensed for pecuniary and political aims without any care or concern for the duty to which we had called men to defend the honour and integrity of Nigeria.
We may argue the legalese around the arraignment of Sambo Dasuki and genuflect with the idealism about the protection of human rights regarding this case, but what Sambo Dasuki was involved in is unforgivable.
Unforgivable with regards to the many lives lost to his atrocious activities and with regards to the high privilege to service to which he as a military man was called to and how he let men and people down by his conduct.
Such disgraceful behaviour calls for the stiffest sanctions and considering how money in the wrong hands in Nigeria is used to gum up the works of justice and accountability, the mere allowance of any freedom will almost make him as elusive as the constantly disappearing El Chapo Guzmán of Mexico. That is something, I am afraid we cannot risk in the face of the gravity of the alleged crimes of Sambo Dasuki.
Pay back with interest
It is interesting that some of the people who shared in this ill-gotten wealth distribution enterprise of wickedness are offering to return what they got, most likely in the hope that they will be forgiven and they can live to exploit the system and peddle influence again. I do not think this is excusable.
If anyone got money and lacked the gumption to ask where the money came from, they should not only return the money with interest, they should face justice as handlers of stolen goods either in the know or out of ignorance.
Never an exemplary leader
It would not be surprising if Goodluck Jonathan in ceding power having lost the Presidential election in March 2015, had smartly negotiated an immunity deal from being implicated in any of the outrageous raids on the Nigerian commonwealth perpetrated in his name or with his consent.
As leader, he never really was an example of morality or integrity having adopted a parseltongue of sophistry by suggesting stealing was not corruption, to me that was as epic making as splitting the atom, to separate stealing from corruption and in view of that, not give a damn about the need for good conduct in public office. His advisers and ministers simply followed his leadership.
However, the culmination of the #DasukiGate must be to get all that money back and make a cautionary example of everyone who shared in the loot, high and low, that the blood of the innocent would not have been shed in vain and that when you are called to serve, it is to serve the fatherland not to serve ourselves and our greed. It goes without saying that in a place like Nigeria, Sambo Dasuki is probably the tip of the iceberg in relation to the brutal and unconscionable rape of Nigeria under the 'saintly' Goodluck Jonathan.

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