By Donu Kogbara
I’ve just chanced upon an article that was written in The Will, an online publication, on January 11. It stated that the PDP’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Abdulahi Jalo, “has tasked former President Goodluck Jonathan to speak out on the controversial $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency during his tenure but which was allegedly shared by some influential politicians.”
According to this report, Jalo – who is from the North-East and has personal experience of the devastation caused by the terrible violence and insecurity that has scarred the region since Boko Haram emerged – said (at a press briefing in Abuja) that the sharing of money by party members was a disgrace and that the controversy surrounding the disbursement of funds by the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, “should have attracted the former President’s attention.” And, furthermore, that Jonathan should tell Nigerians and the international community who authorised the sharing of the money.
Disbursement of funds
“As all of you know,” Jalo continued, “no single kobo can be spent by the Federal Government without an act of the National Assembly. Money earmarked for arms purchase, some people diverted it to something else. So many people that you cannot even expect were involved. Now, darkness has come to light….
…[and since] “Jonathan is alive, he should clarify whether he asked the National Security Adviser to divert money meant to fight Boko Haram…”
Though I understand Jalo’s frustration, Jonathan is not legally obliged to say anything at the moment; and I can see why Jonathan’s only comment so far has been (in a French TV interview) that he laid a solid foundation for terrorism to be defeated and that his successor, President Buhari, is conducting the war against Boko Haram with weapons that were bought by the Jonathan administration.
Jonathan has yet to specifically respond to the allegations against Dasuki and others. He has, so far, chosen to maintain a studious silence on this front.
Meanwhile, the scandal that is unfolding is generating fevered debates and consuming many of Jonathan’s associates and cronies and onetime subordinates.
And though none of them have been found guilty by any court of law, we are told that the evidence against some of them is compelling.
If it turns out that The Accused have committed financial crimes that are extremely serious, not least because they have undermined our armed forces and increased the death toll in the North East, I will be SO disappointed that men of such seniority betrayed our trust and callously ignored the nation’s wellbeing.
If the VIPs in the dock did indeed misbehave so massively when they were in powerful positions, it is unlikely that Jonathan didn’t have a clue what any of them were up to and possible that Jonathan even gave them permission to misbehave.
Whatever the case may be, the arms probe wahala is not going to go away anytime soon. It will hog the headlines for the forseeable future; and Jonathan probably won’t be able to maintain a lofty Pontius Pilatesque stance forever because he was overtly close to many of the individuals who are being detained, queried and tried.
He also happened to be their Boss. And we all know that the buck stops on the Boss’s desk and that even when a Boss is unaware of his underlings’ misdeeds, he has to take part of the blame for anything that goes wrong under his watch.
This sad and sordid drama will not be complete without some explanations from the former Commander-In-Chief; and I can’t wait to hear Jonathan’s side of the story.
Anyaoku hits the nail on the head
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the highly respected former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, recently talked about the failings of some Nigerian Christians.
His exact words (according to a quotation on the back page of yesterday’s ThisDay newspaper):
“These days, we have people of questionable character giving money to the church, while some even use such money gotten from dubious means to build churches without anyone questioning such practices.
“Even as one of the most religious countries in the world, there is still a high rate of moral depravity, corruption and societal ills in Nigeria.”
I couldn’t agree more with Chief Anyaoku. Too many Nigerian Christians are chronic hypocrites. They carry on incessantly about their belief in God. They fast. They attend vigils and crusades. They flock to churches in droves every Sunday.
Our Muslim brethren are also steeped in religiousity and doggedly fast during special periods like Ramadan and pack mosques all over the land every Friday.
But what do we have to show for this widespread “devotion” to Jesus and Allah?
A country that is riddled with completely avoidable political, economic and social dysfunctions…and is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy because so many public servants have no consciences and have shamelessly looted the Treasury.
And please note that government officials are not the only culprits. Too many Nigerians from ALL walks of life, private sector folks, pastors, priests and imams included, are (despite their in-your-face religiousity) not sufficiently ethical.
A worthy effort
My lawyer friend, John Synger, has just written a book on laws regulating land in Nigeria. It discusses the Land Use Act, other Federal Legislations and State Laws…and is a user guide for anyone who intends to purchase or develop land.
I’ve worked with John Synger in the past and know him to be a meticulous researcher who doesn’t cut corners. I also possess some legal knowledge, having studied law for a while in the UK; and I think it is fair to describe this book as a worthy effort that will be immensely useful to professionals and laymen alike.
The book, titled “The Nigerian Land Use Hand Book”, costs N5000 and will be on sale from Monday February 15th onwards in shops outside the following premises:
The High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja
The High Court of Lagos State, Lagos Island
The High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja
The book can also be purchased via email or via phone. Contact details:
Tel: +2347063400268, +2348091716795; email@example.com