By Ifeanyi Izeze
We have moved on, abi, haven’t we? How long can this country survive carrying on like this? Just few weeks back, we saw a sitting Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) distribute over 200 exotic sport utility vehicles to politicians in his home state of Kebbi to sway the All Progressive Congress governorship primary in the state in his favour.
Several disclosures of recent are exposing top government officials in this administration especially those swimming naked or rather those who have political aspirations in their various home states.
Now we are hearing of another sitting top government functionary, the Accountant General of The Federation, Ahmed Idris, being accused of over N80 billion alleged fraud. Interestingly, all these and many more even worse cases are happening under the full glare of Mr Integrity as president. We only hear of some of these cases when political aspirations cross the paths of the demigods in this government.
Has anybody bordered to take on the AGF on the source of the money he used in procuring the vehicles as we are all aware that his cumulative salary and all the allowances of his office couldn’t have been enough to pay for such insensitive display of a serving top government official?
In a statement after the photos of the lush vehicles went viral, Malami’s spokesman, Umar Gwandu, claimed, “It was friends and associates of Malami who donated and distributed vehicles to long term workers in the Khadimiyya Foundation.”
Without mincing words, Malami’s denial that it was his friends and associates who donated and distributed the vehicles was at best diversionary and at worst callous to say the least. Can Malami tell us those friends of his that donated and distributed the vehicles as he claimed? Can he provide Nigerians with the receipts of vehicle purchases so Nigerians from all over the world can directly confirm from the sellers?
Is this excuse of the AGF different from the same ambiguous and one-sided strategy that all politicians in this dispensation use to deceive Nigerians as if the bulk of the citizenry are fools?
The only way to describe this brazen act of the AGF is to say that people appointed by General Mohammadu Buhari to run his government are brazenly carrying on as if they’ve completely lost respect and reverence not only for the president but also for the entire citizenry of the country who they were supposed to be holding their respective offices in trust.
No regard for the offices they occupy, no decency in their public and private lives and conducts, above all, no iota of consideration to what the generality of Nigerians would say about them because, you can talk from now till next year, the president neither hears, speaks nor acts to discipline his lieutenants or at least call them to order.
As rightly pointed out by The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), “They use phantom groups as an alleged shield to divert what is alleged to be ill-gotten money and fund campaign expenses, as corroborated by Transparency International recently which raised the alarm that support groups use stolen funds to purchase exotic cars for party delegates and party forms politicians.
It should worry every genuinely concerned Nigerian that the so-called chief law officer who has been in charge of the recovery of foreign loots including those of the late Sani Abacha and James Ibori is involved in this bogus donation of cars to party delegates even if remotely through his affiliates and friends.
Even if it was true that his so-called friends bought and shared the lush vehicles on his behalf, he could have dissuaded them not to proceed with this illegality given his frontline role as the Premier Cabinet-level officer in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that lay claims to fighting corruption.
Also if he had disclosed the identities of his so-called friends and associates from day one, nobody would have raised dust about his “uncommon charity” effort in his home state of kebbi.
Who are these Malami’s so-called friends whose names are not mentioned by the AGF’s office? Who are they? What is their pedigree to afford 200 lush SUVs?
Do we still need any confirmation to prove that the silence and inaction of the Rasheed Bawa-led EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are not already hijacked by the Office of the Attorney General that directly supervises these anti-graft agencies?
This was the same AGF that several of his aides were recently accused of allegedly selling presidential pardons to whoever was ready to pay their fees. No wonder everyone on the list presented by Malami was pardoned, except Francis Atuche, a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB and two others.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had pardoned about 159 convicts, including a former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, and former Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, who are both in prison for diverting billions of naira of public funds.
Recall that Human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana said that the AGF’s office had no business with the list after the President’s approval stressing that it was rather the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Another scandal is that the delay in the publication of the names of the beneficiaries of the presidential pardon is because the Office of the Attorney General has allegedly inserted fake names in the list of the pardonees other than what was approved by the Council of States/Executive council. Up till now Malami is yet to say anything concerning the allegation. This is our chief law officer and superintendent of the nation’s anti-graft agencies!
Though it was reported that some aides to the Attorney-General were grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly selling presidential pardon, the tragedy of the nation is that this same anti-graft agency reports and takes orders directly from the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. So how do you expect the EFCC to be honest in this matter since na the same people!
Buhari had his golden moment when Jonathan ceded the victory of the 2015 presidential election to him. But as it stands today, it’s obvious he has by invitation blown it and made a ship wreck of governance of the house called Nigeria. And nothing is going to change as pertains the ongoing callous looting of our commonwealth in this last minute of their stay in Aso Rock except the Almighty God intervenes as the righteous judge.
- Mr. Izeze is a Columnist with National Daily Newspaper and can be reached by email on: [email protected]; Phone: 234-8033043009