Jibrin-Ibrahim

I think it’s very important to pursue the debate on the cost of mega-corruption. We expended $20 billion on electricity provisioning without any increase in electricity. Nigerian households in consequence had to expend additional billions of dollars to buy millions of toxic generators all over the country. Many died of carbon monoxide poisoning emanating from the toxic fumes…We contributed massively to global warming and so on. Yes indeed, what these people have been doing is not just criminal acts of corruption, its killing our people, impoverishing the survivors and literally destroying the world.

I have addressed the issue of mega corruption many times in this column thinking that I was a keen observer of the growth of the phenomenon. I am astounded with the on-going revelations that show concretely that our entire system of public finance has been turned into a huge slush fund in which the treasury is simply emptied and billions are shared out to people. According to the recent affidavit by Ibrahim Idris Wambai, the former Accounts Officer II, in the Office of the National Security Adviser, every month, 20 million Naira “pocket money” is sent to the Vice President, various other amounts were regularly sent to a motley crowd including Doyin Okupe, the Jonathan’s regime megaphone; the ADC to former First Lady Patience Jonathan, Personal Assistant, Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and his son, Sagir Attahiru and so on. To successfully execute ‘Operation Capture North-West’, $9.809 million was allegedly collected by ex-Minister of State Yuguda from the Office of the NSA between December 23, 2014 and February 10, 2015. It was incredible for any one to think that money would have procured victory for Jonathan in the North-West. Clearly, no one would have thought that but any excuse was apparently enough to justify sharing money from the national treasury.

Femi Falana has made the important point that the $2.1 billion allocated for arms procurement for the armed forces, which were simply looted is a crime against humanity. The direct consequences of that action is that we lost a large number of our military, killed because they were poorly armed. In addition, the over 20,000 Nigerians that were killed by Boko Haram died because greedy and heartless people were stealing the money that should have been spent to strengthen the armed forces. I fully agree with Femi Falana that these people should be tried not only for the criminal acts of corruption they carried out, but for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is extremely difficult to comprehend a government that would send bullion vans to the Central Bank, cart away billions and simply share them out. Wole Soyinka knew exactly what he was talking about when he said Nigeria would not have survived a Goodluck Jonathan victory at the polls. We now understand the determination and swiftness with which they threw out former Governor of the Central Bank and current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

I am concerned that the media and its executives knew about what was going on and rather that expose it, decided to join the looting. Raymond Dokpesi collected over 10 billion Naira and for that reason took hate crime to the highest level in the history of Nigeria. It could easily have started a civil war over the general elections had Nigerians not shown extreme restraint and refused to react to the hate narratives he was producing to justify the billions he was receiving.

I think it’s very important to pursue the debate on the cost of mega-corruption. We expended $20 billion on electricity provisioning without any increase in electricity. Nigerian households in consequence had to expend additional billions of dollars to buy millions of toxic generators all over the country. Many died of carbon monoxide poisoning emanating from the toxic fumes. Those who survived invested so much of their resources that could have helped carry them out of poverty. We contributed massively to global warming and so on. Yes indeed, what these people have been doing is not just criminal acts of corruption, its killing our people, impoverishing the survivors and literally destroying the world.

I am concerned that the media and its executives knew about what was going on and rather that expose it, decided to join the looting. Raymond Dokpesi collected over 10 billion Naira and for that reason took hate crime to the highest level in the history of Nigeria. It could easily have started a civil war over the general elections had Nigerians not shown extreme restraint and refused to react to the hate narratives he was producing to justify the billions he was receiving. Nduka Obaigbena received his millions for ThisDay and for the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria from the slush fund. If the money were compensation for their property destroyed by terrorists as he argued, why did they not make an open demand for compensation? Had they done so, I would have joined the advocacy that they should indeed be compensated. Precisely because they knew where the slush fund was, they went there quietly and got their share. When Daily Trust had their copies seized by security agencies, they also knew where the slush funds were and went quietly for their share. In other words, one of the collateral damage we suffered as a nation was the deficit of information of the scale and breath of mega-looting precisely because those who knew simply went and got their cut.

It is a miracle that we got out of the general elections with an outcome that reflected the choice made by a majority of Nigerians. Former Senate President and minister of interior Iyorchia Ayu has responded to the information that his company received 345 million Naira from the Office of the National Security Adviser. It’s not for arms importation he explained but for “consultancy services on security and electoral matters” which he said he was very skilled in. Ayu is my good friend and I do not doubt his skills, but why go to the National Security Adviser for consultancy services on elections. For turning our treasury into a slush fund, we must ensure that perpetrators pay the full price.

A development consultant and expert, Jibrin Ibrahim is a Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Development and Chair of the Editorial Board of Premium Times.