Dasuki didn’t steal $2.1bn’: Nigerians react

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There are two sides to the story now. Some people say he (Dasuki) stole the whole money; some are saying he didn’t steal the money. Between the two of them, let them sort themselves out. People take things out of context. The allegation against him (Dasuki) was that he stole $2.1bn. But he (Jonathan) said that’s not possible because out of this money, he bought a lot of equipment for the Army and Navy. That was what he was saying, not necessarily that he did not  steal any money, but it wasn’t possible for him to have stolen (misappropriated) the whole money, which was budgeted for arms because, according to him (Jonathan), the man bought a lot of ammunition and equipment for the Army, Navy and Air Force out of the money. That was the context in which I understand him. It is those who made allegations (about the arms funds being shared to individuals) that have to justify it. If someone says people have stolen, then it behoves such a person to prove it. I don’t think there is any controversy about this. I think this is a non-issue. We shouldn’t generate any controversy out of that. Since he is standing trial, they should prosecute him properly, so he will account for the money.

When the government of the day, which has the instrumentality of propaganda and security agencies, accuses you of anything, even God will find it difficult to save you from that situation. Knowing the nature of Nigerian politics, it is not impossible that certain allegations might have been grossly and politically exaggerated. That being said, the statement coming from Jonathan is not mature enough. For me, it is not time to talk. He should have waited for six months for Nigerians to demystify the current government before he started talking. But it is normal. He is human; nobody is perfect. Secondly, the way the current government is going about its anti-corruption crusade is nothing but a charade.  The attention has been on individuals defrauding the state. But the President has not addressed the problem of the state, upon which he presides, defrauding the citizens. A good example is electricity. In Nigeria, you don’t get power, you pay for darkness. This is the state defrauding the citizens. And if you go by what we call in behavioural science the principle of  behavioural determinism, what you learn from the society is what you give back to society. This government is fighting corruption on the pages of newspapers. It is highly political; it is propaganda; it is not sincere. The Nigerian people have been found guilty of defrauding the state, but the state, presided over by President Buhari, keeps defrauding Nigerians through power, water corporation, customs, immigrations, ministries, departments and agencies.

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First of all, the claim against Sambo Dasuki by his accusers was that he had mismanaged or embezzled over $2bn and now the counterclaim by Jonathan, to a large extent, exonerates or sheds light on the whole controversy. Now, what is needed is that there is nothing wrong in inviting Jonathan to come and broaden his submission formally as regards this very issue. If he has said Dasuki has not embezzled the money, I think it will be wrong for him to simply say it in a seminar or conference, but he should say it where it matters. That will help in the prosecution of this very case.

I am at a loss as to how the former President, after all the revelations about Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) till date, still doubts the visible corrupt tendencies (of his government). I am still at a loss with the ex-President’s statement, especially with the trial of Dasuki, which is ongoing. I am at a loss that the ex-President would be denying this (diversion of arms funds). We should remember that the former President doubted the fact that the Chibok girls were kidnapped. His statements still surprise me. We expected that the former President would have acted like a statesman to accept the act of corruption. I don’t know if he (Jonathan) read what the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, actually said; that the money she approved for Dasuki was authorised by him (Jonathan). I think it is high time we advised that Jonathan should be interrogated. He is not above the law. Since he is now saying Dasuki didn’t steal, I think he should be quizzed.

Clearly, some part of the money was used for (election) campaigns. There is no doubt about that. If they bought aircraft, warships, weapons for the Army, etc, it doesn’t mean that the whole $2.1bn was used for that purpose. I believe that part of it was used for politics. I don’t know why the (former) President had to make a statement on this because it raises questions as to whether settlements had been reached.

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The money was brought out and used for buying heavy equipment; the money was also used for political purposes — campaign purposes. I think that is my understanding of this. He knows about the $2.1bn; he has claimed knowledge of it. He is talking about what it was used for, but he didn’t mention the issue of using it for party politics. So, I don’t know what to add, since he himself volunteered the statement.

I have great respect for the Office of the President of Nigeria; be it ex-President Goodluck Jonathan or the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Whoever is elected as our leader, it is our responsibility to honour and respect such a person.

However, my position is that this is not just about stealing or corruption, but misappropriation of funds. If a certain amount of money has been budgeted for security purposes, nobody has the right to reallocate such funds for purchase of rams, goats, public relations and distribution across party lines for electioneering purposes. At the end of the day, it may not even be $2.1bn. One will expect ex-President Jonathan to give Dansuki a clean bill of health that not even a kobo has been misappropriated or stolen. Even if it is $1 or $10 that has been misapplied, the statement credited to Jonathan is ‘unpresidential’.

For the sake of clarity, the former President has not said emphatically that Sambo Dasuki did not steal money. He has also not said that Dasuki stole money. What he said was that it was not possible that Dasuki would have stolen $2.1bn. Jonathan let us know that part of the arms funds was used to buy aircraft, warships and these arms were delivered to the present government.

What Jonathan said at that event was true. He didn’t say that there was no corruption in his government. President Muhammadu Buhari cannot claim that there is no corruption even in his government. We have heard of diversion of IDP funds in this government. The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has also been accused of illegally acquiring properties in Dubai. What have they done about these? This government is a government of blackmail and they don’t want people to see anything good in Jonathan. If there was any money lost, it cannot possibly be up to $2.1bn. With the achievements of Jonathan, it is unfortunate that he could be labelled as corrupt. There is nothing special that Buhari is doing that Jonathan did not do. Jonathan also fought corruption in his government. What is going on is noisemaking, not fighting corruption. If they are really serious, they should probe former governor Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

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It is obvious that our past leaders are very insensitive to the plight and sufferings of Nigerians. How can a former President, who presided over the looting of Nigeria, have the guts to defend one of his aides who has not denied stealing the money? Dansuki didn’t say he didn’t get the money, he only explained how he distributed it. Jonathan owes Nigerians an apology for saying that.

Secondly, what makes the statement more irresponsible is that the case is still pending in court. Is the former President saying he wants to take over the role of the judiciary? Is he concluding before the court delivers its judgment?

Source: Punch

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