mohammed-sambo-dasuki

If found guilty, Mr. Dasuki would join Madam Diezani Alison-Madueke as the second major villains of the Jonathan Era – true enemies of the Nigerian state.

The following facts are true and not in doubt: Mr. Sambo Dasuki became the National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic in 2012, a post he held until this year. Mr. Dasuki was one of the four majors responsible for the arrest of the current president during the 1985 coup that brought IBB to power; Dasuki was subsequently made Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB). During the Jonathan administration, the National Security Adviser’s office had responsibility for coordinating the armed forces in its efforts against the militant Boko Haram sect in the North-East of Nigeria. These facts are not in dispute.

The things in dispute are issues around the disgraceful management of the war effort that led to the conquest by a ragtag bunch of untrained fanatics called Boko Haram of an area the size of Belgium, about 20,000sq kilometers. One reason for the above was the lack of a political will to fight the insurgency by the past administration which felt the war was really politically motivated by opponents to discredit it. Another reason was the dismay state of the Nigerian military tasked with the responsibility for persecuting the war, and this is where Mr. Sambo Dasuki’s behavior and performance must be examined.

Few moments defined the Boko Haram insurgency more than the kidnap of the Chibok girls in April, 2014, which was the singular event that focused global attention on the conflict and eventually led to the current improvements. However another event defined the war on the ground. Troops of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army stationed in Maiduguri mutinied and attempted to kill their commanding officer, Major General Aminu Mohammed in 2014 also. Their reason was simple, they had been ordered to match through Boko Haram territories at night without adequate equipment to counter any attack. A large number were killed and when the bodies were delivered back at camp, frustrated soldiers fired shots at their commandant and other senior officers. This moment really brought home the fact that the much hyped and supposedly gallant Nigerian army was a hollow shell, demotivated and improperly equipped.

Why were the boys underequipped? Why were they angry? Why were their lives being wasted like turkeys dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner?

…Mr. Dasuki should be given the opportunity to defend himself against such heinous claims. That’s what courts are for and he will certainly have his day in court. What has forced Mr. Buhari’s hand is the fact that a court has compelled the Department of States Security (DSS) to return Mr. Dasuki’s passport and allow him to travel abroad for a medical checkup. The president fears that considering the extent of the exposed fraud, the former NSA top shot would not return. The initial charge of illegal arms possession was intended to keep him in Nigeria pending the completion of the above committees’ investigation and it succeeded until the court order.

These questions were answered yesterday with the interim report of the investigative committee on arms procurement set up by President Buhari upon assumption of office in May. The sums being mentioned are out of this world. The Punch newspaper stated that the former NSA awarded failed contracts amounting to N482billion, about $2.41billion, out of a total of N1.083trillion ($5.4billion) worth of contracts awarded. The NSA got these monies through budgetary allocations and also through an intervention fund raised to fight the Boko Haram scourge. They got $1billion via extra budgetary allocation which was approved by the FG and the senate. The total intervention fund raised amounted to about N643.8 billion (about $3.2billion) out of which only 26 percent was actually used for procurement of equipment that could subsequently be accounted for. The remaining 74 percent ($2.41billion) has magically disappeared. This money excludes the funds raised from states security votes.

The above are disputed facts and Mr. Dasuki should be given the opportunity to defend himself against such heinous claims. That’s what courts are for and he will certainly have his day in court. What has forced Mr. Buhari’s hand is the fact that a court has compelled the Department of States Security (DSS) to return Mr. Dasuki’s passport and allow him to travel abroad for a medical checkup. The president fears that considering the extent of the exposed fraud, the former NSA top shot would not return. The initial charge of illegal arms possession was intended to keep him in Nigeria pending the completion of the above committees’ investigation and it succeeded until the court order.

Boko Haram, which calls itself Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah has killed more than 17,000 people since 2009 and it has displaced 2.3 million people since May 2013. That is a population the size of the country of Jamaica or the state of Nebraska in the USA or even better STILL, Ekiti State in Nigeria. If Mr. Dasuki contributed directly to the proliferation and growth of this group in anyway, he should be punished to the full extent of the law, if he did not, then he should be set free. However all this should be established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

If found guilty, Mr. Dasuki would join Madam Diezani Alison-Madueke as the second major villains of the Jonathan Era – true enemies of the Nigerian state.

Femi Akinfolarin, a lawyer, writes from Lagos.