Mohammed Haruna ndajika@
yahoo.com 08059100107 (Text only)
President Goodluck Jonathan may not have created Boko
Haram (BH), but anyone who has doubted charges that he is
apparently in no hurry to end the sect’s insurgency because it
suits his ambition for another term, needs look no further than
three major events in the last one month to think again.
First, of course, was the claim, late August, by an Australian
Anglican clergy, Dr. Stephen Davis, that former army chief,
Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, former Borno State governor,
Senator Modu Sheriff, and an unnamed Central Bank of
Nigerian official were major financial sponsors of BH. Second,
was the shocking $9.3 million cash for arms scandal in South
Africa that came to light on September 5, involving the Federal
Government, the President of the Christian Association of
Nigeria (CAN), and his controversial private jet. Third, was the
Senate approval last Thursday of President Jonathan’s request
in June for a $1 billion (roughly 170 billion naira) loan to buy
weapons for the war against BH.
To begin with the last, the president’s very request for the
loan was proof positive that the orchestrated attacks by senior
government officials on the governor of Borno State, Alhaji
Kassim Shettima, for saying BH was better armed and better
motivated than our military was sheer blackmail. For 30 months
from mid-1967 Nigeria fought a terrible civil war, but under
the prudent management of Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Finance
minister and prime minister in all but the name, we did not
borrow one kobo to arm and motivate our military to win the
war. And the chief who was not even a development economist
but only a lawyer, albeit a big lawyer – and his boss, General
Yakubu Gowon – did not have the benefit of the stupendous oil
wealth that has accrued to this nation since 1999.
The size of this oil wealth has been used as an excuse to put a
huge amount of it aside for “rainy days” in the form of
Sovereign Wealth Fund, foreign reserve and so on. Now, if the
BH insurrection is not rainy days, I don’t know what is.
To seek for a loan to fight BH obviously raises the questions,
why borrow when you have put so much away for rainy days
and what, in the first place, happened to all those huge
amounts that had been budgeted for the fight against the
insecurity in the land?
Nothing exposes the use of this insecurity to hide the motive
for letting the BH insurrection fester better than the excuse
the rump of our senators, led by its leadership, gave for
ramming the approval down our throats; the loan, claimed the
leadership had “security implications”, or some words to that
effect. When opposition elements raised valid objections based
on constitutional and legal requirements for acceding to the
president’s request, they were simply rolled over by a voice
Here, it must be said in the senate leadership’s favour that
they even allowed for some amount of debate; at the lower
chamber, the leadership simply refused to allow any debate on
the $9.3 million scandal because it said it was all “a matter of
security”, or words to that effect.
The questions about why we needed to borrow in the face of
the huge votes for fighting insecurity in the land takes us to
the first event, namely, the claim by Dr Davis that Gen.
Ihejirika, Alhaji Modu and an unnamed CBN official have been
major financiers of BH. Serious questions can be raised about
the Anglican priest’s claims in spite of the fact that he has
worked for the federal authorities in the past and he seems to
have inside knowledge of BH phenomenon.
First, he provides no evidence for his claim beyond the say-so
of the insurgents. And their say-so cannot be sufficient proof
since they have good reason to tar the two gentlemen Davis
cared to name: the general for at least ostensibly fighting
them and the former governor for creating and using them
and then dumping them. Second, why refuse to go the whole
hog and name the third alleged culprit?
In spite of these and other questions over Davis’s credibility,
there can be no justification for the manner in which our
State Security Service, speaking through Ms Ogar, dismissed
Davis, especially in her overzealousness in defending the
general and leaving the “bloody civilian” governor to fend for
himself. As Ms Ogar knows all too well, in the murky world of
state security, stuff happens, as Americans would say.
If you need any evidence that stuff happens consider the little
publicised – at least in the Nigerian media – report Human
Rights Watch (HRW) issued on July 21, in which it alleged that
“The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation, the American
equivalent of our SSS) encouraged and sometimes even paid
Muslims to commit terrorist acts during numerous sting
operations after the 9/11 attacks.”
The report was based on HRW’s joint exami-nation with
Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute of 27
cases and interviews with 215 people including those charged
and convicted in terrorism cases, their relatives, defence and
prosecution lawyers and judges.
“In some cases,” the HRW report said, “the FBI may have
created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting
the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target
Now, remember we are tutored in these things principally by
the Americans – along with the Israelis and the British, all
three, masters of the dark art and science of warfare – and
it would therefore not be surprising if, as good students, we
have learnt a thing or two about dirty tricks from them in our
fight against insecurity in the land.
In the circumstance, the least our SSS could have done was
pretend to investigate Davis’s allegations and not jump to the
defence of only one of the two named accused and thus open
itself to suspicions that it did so because the one is a Christian
and the other a Muslim, especially given the widespread belief
among Muslims in the country that its security apparatus is
generally anti-Islam and anti-Muslims.
The knee-jerk defence of Ihejirika has become all the more
indefensible in the light of recent demands by the Americans,
no less, that Ihejirika’s alleged stupendous wealth after
serving as army chief needs to be investigated. For the
Americans, it seems, there is correlation between the general’s
sudden wealth and the ill-equipment and poor motivation of
our army in the fight against insecurity in the land.
Finally, the cash and carry arms (?) deal in South Africa that
came to light on September 5. I put a question mark over
“arms” because there is widespread suspicion that the whole
thing was simply a long-running money laundering operation
involving some influential rogue elements in government and
the controversial CAN president and his controversial private
jet gone awry, for once.
The Federal Government has claimed ownership of, and
responsibility for, the transfer of the $9.3 million cash involved
in the CAN president’s private jet, ostensibly to buy arms
apparently on the black market because, it says, the Americans
have refused to allow it to buy arms in the white market. The
Americans have since denied the charge.
In any case, few people believe government’s defence; as the
activist lawyer, Festus Keyamo, said in one of the first
reactions to government’s story, it all sounded like “a cock-
and-bull story.” In other words, the Federal Government’s
story, as an attempt to help extricate the CAN president, is as
water tight as a sieve; Oritsejafor has said he only leased his
jet to a second company in which he admits he has shares but
which in turn leased it to a third party that carried the cash
to buy arms under the table for the fight against BH.
But, as the retired Anthony Cardinal Okogie said in an
interview in last Saturday’s New Telegraph, “The Head of
State is a PDP man and he (Oritsejafor) is linked with this
rubbish. So what other proof do you want that CAN has become
an appendage of the PDP?”
Boko Haram’s insurgency, it seems, has, as I once said on these
pages, become a war with no end for the purpose of retaining
power and wealth by some people. May the Good Lord by whose
mercy these shenanigans have come to light bring an end to
the insecurity of the long suffering Nigerians.
The birthday of a septuagenarian…
Professor Shehu Bida, Marafa Nupe, born in Okene, Kogi State
in 1934, is 80 today. He was the first veterinary doctor in the
North when he graduated from Veterinary College, Tuskegee,
Alabama, USA, in 1967. He received his Masters degree in the
USA in1969 and his PhD from the London University in 1973. He
went on to teach the subject in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,
and became one of its early professors in the seventies.
He eventually retired and went on to serve as one of the few
highly educated Chairmen of Local Governments in the North
his native Bida in the eighties. He has since retired from active
paid public service and is today one of the most respected
elders in Nupeland.
Happy birthday Marafa Nupe and here’s wishes of many more
…and the death of a nonagenarian
Last Thursday, my older friend, Alhaji Ahmad Abubakar Jarma,
died at 94. All the tributes paid to him talked mostly about his
role as a pioneer agriculturalist in the North, being one of the
region’s first graduates in the disciple. There was hardly any
mention of his role as a selfless community and religious leader
who did a lot to popularize the Islamic calendar in the country.
It was through his influence, for example, that the New
Nigerian under my management in the late eighties started
the publication of the lunar dates in its folio.
Interestingly, he was married to Jummai, one of the famous
Wusasa, Zaria, Miller twin-sisters who were Christians. Husband
and wife lived a happy and harmonious life as a couple of
different faiths. Readers of Weekly Trust will recall the
sisters celebrated their 80th birthday last year.
I will miss Jarma for the elderly advice he often called on the
phone to give me. May Allah grant him aljanna firdaus.