On assumption into office, President Muhammadu Buhari kept faith with his electoral promise of fighting corruption by instituting a committee to investigate how security funds appropriated for the fight against terrorism was managed under his immediate predecessor administration.
However, even before Mr. President embarked on this fight against corruption via how the funds meant to wage war against terrorism was spent by the previous administration, one thing stood out like a sore thumb, and that was the fact that the Goodluck Jonathan administration was very insincere, unpatriotic and political in the war against terrorism. Why do I say so?
The reason is not far fetched. Reason being that, we were all shell shocked at the seeming incompetence and unpreparedness of our once revered military institution, which had always shone like a million stars on international assignments and even won laurels, to confront and defeat a rag tag bunch of miscreants. Infact, Nigerians were thoroughly disappointed and alarmed by how the Nigerian military personnel were fleeing the battle ground when confronted by a bunch of poorly trained gangsters, called boko haram.
Things got to a despicable level when the Nigerian troops on war duty resorted to desertion and even mutiny against their commanding officer. Infact, this indiscipline and disrespect for constituted authority by the soldiers, led to the court martialing of a lot of soldiers who complained of being poorly armed by the authorities and thus, were sent on a suicide mission. To cut the long story short, almost a whole battalion or more, were facing court martial for mutiny which exposed the fact, that there was something fundamentally wrong with the military and the way and manner, the Nigerian government was prosecuting the war.
We should also not forget that along the line and in the midst of this abnormally, the Nigerian government and the military authorities kept churning out lies, propaganda and half truths about how they were winning the war which was in sharp contrast with reality.
One also recollects, how at a point in the course of the prosecution of the war against boko haram, the governor of Borno state, ran to Abuja and raised alarm, that the terrorists were gaining the upper hand because they were armed with superior and sophisticated weapons than the Nigerian military. He was called names by the Presidential spokesperson and President Jonathan, personally threatened to withdraw Nigerian troops from Borno state in order to teach this loud mouth governor, a lesson that, you don’t speak the truth when you know its the truth.
One also want to refresh our memory with how the then previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan embarrassed Nigeria internationally by ferrying raw cash in dollars in the private jet of a cleric (Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor) into South Africa in violations of the laws of Nigeria and South Africa by not disclosing the cash in their possession and claiming that the money was meant to buy arms, but which was eventually confiscated by the South African authorities.
A stamp of confirmation of the insincerity, corruption soaked and politicization of the war against terrorism by the ex President Goodluck Jonathan administration was sealed when the ex minister of defence and ex chief of army staff, Alex Badeh and Kenneth Minimah, at their passing out parade, respectively, lamented the poor morale and funding of the military under their command. Thus, the chicken finally came home to roost with this self indicting statements which exposed the fact that the whole war against terrorism had been purely hug wash as suspected by discerning and patriotic Nigerians.
Thus, after the committee on the probe into the war against terrorism submitted its report which indicted the office of the National Security Adviser for abuse of public trust with regards to diversion of security funds meant to prosecute the war against terrorism, Mr. President ordered the arrest and prosecution of all the parties involved in the violation of the laws by the appropriate state agencies.
Then, entered into our political lexicon, what is known today as Dasuki armsgate and what followed is the arrest, revelations and confessions of how the funds meant for prosecuting the war against terrorism which had claimed thousands of lives of both military personnel and civilians, destroyed properties worth billions of naira, displaced millions and assaulted our psyche as a people, was diverted and shared by the office of the National Security Adviser to cronies of the then government, in his own words, according to the authorization of ex President Goodluck Jonathan.
As the revelations continue to pour in, about how public trust was abused and national security imperiled by the criminality which went on in the office of the ex NSA, Sambo Dasuki, it is important to state issues in proper perspectives.
No matter the puerile, ridiculous and assault on our sensibilities defence being put up by agents of darkness and corruption to justify and rub salt into our injury by affirming that the office of the NSA paid people for job done, such as party primaries mobilization fees, consultancy, political party committee members, publicity of a political party candidate, campaigns, spiritual exercise, etc. This line of defence, makes you want to question the mental state of such persons or groups, except perhaps, they are being mischievous.
However, it is important to state very clearly and in unequivocal terms that the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is purely an advisory office to Mr. President, no more, no less. It is unconstitutional, illegal, criminal and an assault on the democratic rights of the citizens for such an office to be transformed into what it was not set up to do. Which informed the reason why Nigerians shouted down and condemned Col. Sambo Dasuki when he went to London on January 22, 2015 to fly the kite for the postponememt of the 2015 general elections, which he eventually achieved in conspiracy with the service chiefs by arms twisting and forcing INEC to accede at gun point.
The ministry of defence is the institution statutorily empowered by law to handle security matters ranging from procurement of arms and ammunition to recruitment and training of personnel of the military, any other agency or institution doing that, is only embarking on illegality. So one wonders, what to make of this usurpation of the responsibility of the ministry of defence by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), if its not to commit criminality as exposed?
As the President Muhammadu Buhari administration embarks on prosecuting this infraction of the laws with impunity by the indicted persons, it is important to admonish the government to ensure that it remains focused in keeping to its constitutional oath and doing justice to the memory of those whose lives were cut short, limbs maimed, property destroyed, internally displaced and psychologically traumatized by the criminality of those who sacrificed the blood of their fellow country men and women for pecuniary gains.
We must request that after arraigning the suspects for money laundering, stealing and other related offences, it is equally important to demand that the Nigerian government, also prosecute them for manslaughter of those who lost their lives as a result of their action of making money at the expense of human lives and national security.