Since the adoption of the whistle blowing policy on stolen funds by the Federal Government, it can be said that the policy has succeeded in adding a new dimension on the purported fight against graft.
The policy has it that anyone who reveals to the anti- graft agency or assist in recovery of loot or stolen assets will be rewarded with 5% of the recovered loot. One of the first victims of this policy was Andrew Yakubu, the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was said that the whistle was blown by one of his relatives who claimed the corrupt and stingy Yakubu did not do anything to better the lives of his extended family members. The discovery of humongous amount in his house in the village was indeed a good social media news “headline”; people were tweeting, commenting and discussing the huge wads of cash in his poverty stricken, government abandoned and herdsmen ravaged community in southern Kaduna.
While Nigerians were recuperating from the shock of such heartless loot, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upped the ante like a seasoned telemundo producer by releasing another trailer that can rival a Zee world seasonal movies whose opiate addiction makes youths and house wives forget to prepare or eat dinner- by releasing another video of a recovered loot in Lagos, a whooping 48 million Dollars that immediately became an orphan infected with Ebola virus which no one is willing to touch with six feet pole. Unlike the episode one of the movie which had Andrew Yakubu as the lead character cum protagonist, the episode two was full of suspense and comic relief before the suspense was interrupted by the “crying Ayo”, the suspended head of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who claimed the money was theirs and meant for a covert operation (may be to eliminate those behind xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa).
Ibrahim Magu has proven to Nigerians especially the Senate that one does not need the approval of the Hallowed chambers to succeed, provided one blends professionalism with 21st century theatrical skills and stunts. This he demonstrated by taking the loot recovery movie to nuclear and metaphysics level when he premiered his latest movie shot at a Cemetery. Here, Director Magu thrilled his audience and viewers that treasury looters no longer use houses but caskets to bury their loots in cemeteries, Waoh! Corruption is very crafty and intelligent! Thrilled by Magu’s Oscar winning movie, the president wants to extend the frontiers of the whistle blowing policy on arms. According to the presidential memo, the president asked the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to advise him on the modalities and feasibility of the policy, with regards to the recovery of hidden illicit arms imported by unpatriotic Nigerians especially terrorists and politicians. What a good idea!
Yours faithfully does not want to pre-empt the report and recommendation of the National Security Adviser but to look at the issue honestly and historically.
President Buhari’s support base is in the northern part of Nigeria especially the far north. History has it that after the January 1966 Coup that led to the death of prominent northern politicians, the north perceiving political domination by the easterners launched a retaliatory killing spree and pogrom on all easterners living in the north. Ever since the use of senseless killing became a potent weapon of acquiring or retaining power by the northern political establishment, many thanks to the 4 million street urchins called Almajiris that litter the streets of northern Nigeria. An antiquated practice Emir Sanusi spoke against that will soon cost him his turban.
PMB should not forget that when he lost the 2011 General Elections fair and square some of his supporters poured into the streets using all kinds of dangerous weapons including arms (guns) and massacred thousands especially National Youth Corps members which he described as “spontaneous act” people began to suspect foul play. He went further to threaten that “Dog and Baboon will be soaked in blood” which many interpreted as war drum inspired by large cache of arms stockpile of weapons.
When Atiku Abubakar threatened to make Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration ungovernable, people shouted “Arms”! When governor Rotimi Amechi threatened that APC will form a parallel government if they lose 2015 General Elections, the Jonathanians attributed his treasonable comment to illicit arms induced confidence, they went further to allege that APC imported arms to destabilize Nigeria.
PMB should tread with caution because the pendulum of cash recovery may swing to the PDP while that of arms recovery may swing to APC members because in their quest for power, they did so many things which doesn’t preclude importation of arms. Unless the president’s camp wants to use the policy to deal with intra-party opponents who have made it impossible for APC to hold Board of Trustee election and frustrated the convening of APC National Executive Council meetings. There are speculations that the policy will succeed in discrediting, disqualifying and disbanding all president Buhari opponents in the APC and beyond come 2019.
There is no gainsaying that there are a lot of illicit arms and light weapons in the hands of too many Nigerians, this is evident in the level of violent crimes, terrorism and arm robberies in the country. Statistics has it that over 800 million small arms and light weapons are in the hands of wrong people in the world, 70% of them are in West Africa and Nigeria having over half of them. Indeed it is a threat to our national security and Government needs to adopt a more robust and strategic approach that is devoid of any ethnic, religious and political coloration to avoid national implosion. Lest we forget, the Avengers, IPOB’s, Shia’s, Kidnappers, armed robbers, unemployed youths, Fulani herdsmen, cult groups, terrorists and all disgruntled politicians in APC and other parties will cash in to any anarchy to settle or advance their diverse interest which may end up killing the bewitched baby instead of exorcising the demon in her.
The president is well and better informed than all of us on the security situation of Nigeria but if I am to advise, I will say President Buhari don’t shoot yourself on the foot! A word they say is enough for the wise.
Ogadinma Nkem writes from Kano and tweets on @ogadinmao