Spotlighting the anti-graft war
Nigeria may not have attained her desired economic mileage under Muhammadu Buhari’s slightly a year over administration given the myriad of economic challenges confronting the nation at this critical moment of her history.
They are challenges are not in any way insurmountable if right policies are initiated and this is exactly what the Buhari administration is doing with the economy; firstly by introducing an inclusive policy that targets economy diversification .
One indisputable area his administration has scored resounding achievement is the anti- graft fight. A mettlesome and martinet personality that abhors corruption in whatever guise, Buhari’s unwavering reputation as an incorruptible Nigerian is one huge asset in his archive that no Nigerian, including his critics could challenge.
However, there is a snag, apparently slowing down president’s anti- graft war. The President may not be aware of this clog slowing down the anti- corruption wheel. Few of his closest handlers whose primary responsibility it is to draw president’s attention to such an important lapse, won’t let him know because of their pecuniary interest.
The media is recently awash with reports suggesting that the final report by members of presidential committee on arms procurement that unearthed discoveries relating to how the arms procurements funds were diverted is ready.
The content of the report in its original form allegedly indicts some top officers of the president’s cabinet. This unsettles the clique, making them very uncomfortable.
While the President may want the report to be presented to the public and had instructed his media team to make the report public; few inner circle handlers counseled against this decision. They suggested to the President that the report needed to be reviewed before presentation. The crucial assignment of reviewing the report is assigned to the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari . It’s at the discretion of Chief of staff who is at a liberty to moderate or out rightly black out any section he considered offensive.
Members of the arms procurement panel set up by the Office of National Security Adviser to the President include, Air Vice Marshal J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) - President, Rear Admiral J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.) - Member, Rear Admiral E. Ogbor (rtd.) - Member, Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.) - Member, Brig Gen M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.) - Member, Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.) - Member, Commodore T.D. Ikoli - Member, Air Commodore U. Mohammed (rtd.) Member, Air Commodore I. Shafi’i - Member, Col A.A. Ariyibi - Member, Group Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.) Member, Mr. Ibrahim Magu (EFCC) Member, and Brig Gen Y.I. Shalangwa - Secretary.
While the panel had unhindered access verifying files, documents of every other arms of the military leading to unearthing of huge diversion of funds by some military top brass that are now facing various corrupt charges by the EFCC, that of the Nigeria Army was resisted. The procurement by the army between 2007 and 2010, was the the period the present Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai held sway as procurement presiding officer. The panel had hectic time carrying out the verification of procurement done by the army.
Among vocal members of the procurement panel that resisted the plot by powerful elements in president’s inner circle to halt investigation of procurement in the army is Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd).
Recent reports in the media linked Umar Mohammed’s current travails in the hands of security operatives as a punishment for his rigid stance that panel must verify procurement done by the army.
The arrest of Air Commodore Umar Muhammed (rtd) by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) for alleged offences which included possession of arms and discovery of cash in the sum of $1.5 million in his Maitama residence may have been a hatchet job , a plot framed by few cabal in the inner circle to get back at Umar for insisting procurement in the army between 2007-2010 when Gen. Buratai was in charge of procurement be investigated by the panel.
While the DSS has a supreme obligation to investigate any Nigerian no matter how highly placed, Commodore Umar has been on private business since he left public service. His area of business foray includes oil and gas and airline operations. The cash found in his residence are proceeds of business transaction. Similarly, the pistol discovered in his house during the search had valid license which only expired few months ago.
There is no doubt that the President mean well for this country. He has demonstrated this both in actions and words. However, it will interest him to look inward closely and caution few of his aides who in their pursuit of pecuniary and self serving interest could pave way for lapses which his critics may explore and dub his anticorruption war as selective.
Few weeks ago, one of the Nigeria’s on- line medium, the Sahara Reporters went to town with story alleging a plot by Chief of staff, Abba Kyari to remove Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
The medium claimed that the COS was carrying out the plot in connivance with the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and newspaper publisher Nduka Obaigbena and further claimed of move to replace Magu with a more amenable man .
Quoting undisclosed presidency sources which alluded to a brewing cold war between Magu and members of the Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, Sahara Reporters fingered Kyari’s attempt to interfere with ongoing corruption cases at the EFCC as the bane of the eerie friction. It is on this premise that some discerning Nigerians frowned against current travail of Commodore Umar Muhammed (rtd) in the hands of security operatives. This is unfortunate development which has put the anti- graft war of the president on trial. Jalo wrote this piece from Dutse, Jigawa State email@example.com