mohammed-sambo-dasuki

It is impossible to understand the motivation that led the Office of the National Security Adviser to take $2.1 billion for arms procurement, refuse to buy the arms and basically share out most of the money to political mischief-makers working to divide and break the country. The Office has direct responsibility for the 20,000 people killed by the Boko Haram insurgency and the 2.2 million internally displaced persons living in misery and deprivation as well as the 175,000 Nigerians who have fled to Niger, Chad and Cameroons to seek refuge. These are war crimes and crimes against humanity.

I have written previously about my shock at the way in which $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement was used as a slush fund to pump billions of Naira to Peoples’ Democratic Party operatives. It was important that the Buhari Administration exposes this irresponsible misuse of public resources and, above all, prosecutes them and sends the perpetrators to jail. My belief is that people who are guilty of such acts should not only be tried for corruption but also for crimes against humanity given the way in which their acts of commission and omission led to the empowerment of the Boko Haram insurgency and to the death of tens of thousands of Nigerians.

Last Friday, the office of the National Security Adviser published a public notice inviting 241 companies and organisations that have received contracts and payments from the agency during the tenure of Col. Sambo Dasuki, to report for interrogation. The companies are to appear between January 12 and 26 with their certificates of incorporation, particulars of directors, tax clearance certificates for their companies and directors from 2011 till date, letters of award of contracts, evidence of payments so far/outstanding balance, certified bank statements, and other documents considered relevant to the contracts. I fully support the said investigation. It is important, however, that the Office of the NSA does not give the impression that all organisations that have had a relationship with the Office are involved with corruption. The public notice had concluded on the note that the organisations should note that: “Your prompt appearance before the committee would be wise to avoid any embarrassment.”

Clearly some of the organisations on the list have had perfectly legitimate contractual relations with the Office of the NSA and the impression should not be created that they are all crooks who participated in the mega looting that was organised from the same office.

I have no intention of pre-empting the investigations but I have looked at the list and it appears to me that some of the invited organisations would have no fear because their engagement with the Office of the NSA appears to be legitimate and public. One example is the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, a highly respected NGO whose work I have followed for the past few years. In the aftermath of the January 2012 bombing in Kano, the Foundation set up a pilot trauma and counselling service centre with its own resources. The centre provided psychological support to all victims of trauma; it was the only service providing counselling for people who had been traumatised by the insurgency, and my impression is that they have been doing great work that calls for appreciation. It was only in 2014 that the Office of the NSA started providing support to expand their work in cooperation with the Nigerian Association of Psychologists and the United Kingdom Royal College of Psychiatrists. To this day, the centre remains the first and I believe the only full fledged free trauma and counselling centre in the country providing for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The second example is the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation. I am not sure why they were called but I attended the premiere of a very important film they produced with support from the Office of the NSA on the environment and conflict generation in Nigeria. The film drew attention to the ways in which climate change and environmental degradation in different zones of the country have produced stress, crisis and deprivations that are leading to different types of violent crisis and the film openly acknowledged the Office of the NSA as its sponsor. My final example is the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development which received funding from the Office of the NSA to support a Committee of Elders to intervene in conflict prevention engagement to ensure violent conflicts are prevented before, during and after the 2015 elections. These organisations received relatively small amounts from the Office of the NSA; they used the money to do good work and we should not use the same brush to taint all of them. Clearly some of the organisations on the list have had perfectly legitimate contractual relations with the Office of the NSA and the impression should not be created that they are all crooks who participated in the mega looting that was organised from the same office.

This type of predatory corruption sets out to promote a pathology aimed at destroying Nigeria and those responsible should be tried not just for their crimes of corruption but also for their war crimes, crimes against humanity and their dastardly intention of seeking to destroy Nigeria.

There is a second group of people who have acknowledged receiving money from the Office of the NSA for “political” work. The Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Union of Journalists and many other media organs have received such monies for their political work and it is interesting that they received much larger amounts than those doing useful technical work. Alhaji Tanko Yakasai for example has argued that the money he received was to go round the North and tell important people and traditional rulers to keep the peace. A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has confessed to receiving 100 million Naira from PDP Board of Trustees member, Chief Tony Anenih and disbursing the money through the structures of his Social Democratic Party (SDP). Why should an opposition party like the SDP, totally absent from the political terrain, be given and accept such a huge amount of money from the Office of the National Security Adviser? Subsequently, we lived through his abduction saga and the incendiary statements Chief Falae was making about a particular ethnic group, clearly trying his best to promote mischief and unrest in the country. For the Office of the National Security Adviser to provide vast resources to mischief makers clearly working hard to divide the country and actively promote sectarian conflict is the unkindest cut that could be made against Nigeria.

It is impossible to understand the motivation that led the Office of the National Security Adviser to take $2.1 billion for arms procurement, refuse to buy the arms and basically share out most of the money to political mischief-makers working to divide and break the country. The Office has direct responsibility for the 20,000 people killed by the Boko Haram insurgency and the 2.2 million internally displaced persons living in misery and deprivation as well as the 175,000 Nigerians who have fled to Niger, Chad and Cameroons to seek refuge. These are war crimes and crimes against humanity. This type of predatory corruption sets out to promote a pathology aimed at destroying Nigeria and those responsible should be tried not just for their crimes of corruption but also for their war crimes, crimes against humanity and their dastardly intention of seeking to destroy Nigeria.

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.