Boko Haram, the terrorist Islamic organisation crashed into the Nigerian national stage with fury (2002), fire (2007) and firestorm (2009). The word Boko, a Hausa adulteration of the English word “book,” and haram, the Hausa word for forbidden, together mean aversion to Western education. Initially the organisation was reportedly an apprentice of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in its formative stages; however, its allegiance is reported to have shifted to the Islamic Group (ISIS/ISIL) in more recent times. Whether within the orbit of Al Qaeda or the Islamic Group, the destruction of lives and property in these years in Nigeria is unrelenting and inestimable.
Through it all, I have maintained an implicit faith in an axiom: it is not possible for Boko Haram to sustain its carnage with its kind of weapons and logistics without the firm but implicit support of co-religionists in very high places in the northern parts of Nigeria. Well, it was an unproven theory. This week however, developments in the presidency seem to confer credence to the axiom when the President Buhari ordered the arrest of the former National Security Adviser under President Goodluck Jonathan. As it will be recalled, the latter lost the presidential election in April 2015 largely due to his widespread failure to defeat Boko Haram which was and still rampaging the northern part of the country. Unknown to most Nigerians and indeed the global human family, the man who was charged with ensuring that Boko Haram is defeated is the same guy – National Security Advise – who was allegedly fuelling their staying power by diverting funds meant for counter-Boko Haram activities to pro-Boko Haram sources.
As part of his strategy to fight corruption, President Buhari inaugurated a committee on 31 August 2015 to unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions in the immediate past. Although the committee is yet to complete its work, nevertheless, it had unearthed sufficient information to kick start what Nigerians have been yearning for – change – which up till this week has been an electioneering slogan only. Below are some of the committee’s functional findings:
the total extra budgetary interventions collated by the committee was N643.8 billion while the foreign currency component was $2.2 billion., not including grants from the state governments and funds collected by the Directorate of State Services and the Police;
of the 513 contracts awarded at 8,356,525,184.32 dollars; N2,189,265,724,404.55 and 54,000.00 euros; 53 were failed contracts amounting to 2,378,939,066.27 dollars and N13,729,342,329.87 respectively;
the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the one billion dollars loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East;
the payments to the tune of N3.850 billion were made to a single company by the former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the Federal Government;
between March 2012 and March 2015, the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50; 1,671,742,613.58 dollars and 9,905,477.00 euros;
contracts, which were said to be for the purchase of four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were (1) not executed and the equipment were (2) never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are (3) they in its inventory;
out of these figures, two companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350,000,000.00; 1,661,670,469.71 dollars and 9,905,477.00 euros alone.
Who is Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) who is at the centre of the on-going investigation which is most likely to reach the courts? He is the eldest son of a Sultan of Sokoto who was deposed by General Sani Abacha, 1996, for corruption-related charges, in the last lap of the military era.
There is euphoria on Nigeria streets this week but if you ask me, I will tell you that my euphoria is half filled or half empty until the matter can safely land in court and the legal process allowed to run its course because this is not the first time promising scenarios have been aborted on the way to the court, showing that justice remain a captive in Nigeria as far as the poor, who are worst hit by corruption induced poverty, are concerned. This writer will follow this story for Transcend.
Rev. Olufemi Oluniyi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Centre for Values and Social Change, Lagos, Nigeria.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 23 November 2015