Nigeria is indeed a powerful country. A country where things happen like it’s a movie. For a long time, I have watched the revelations from the arms purchase scandal and the role of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Office of the National Security Adviser. I have had my reservations for inexplicable reasons. But the recent revelations have confirmed my suspicion. Who can be trusted to work in tandem with President Buhari to rid this country of corruption?
Leading an agency as sensitive as the EFCC requires two things mainly. You have to be strategic and dead to sentiments in whatever form or guise. But recent events in the EFCC and the Office of the National Security Adviser have made a mockery of the fight against corruption. You can’t go to war without a strategy. It is beyond the media hullabaloo and social media hysteria. The Office of the National Security Adviser is as important as the air we breathe. But I have been really disappointed and pained and decided to put this piece together.
In truth, Nigeria has made considerable inroads in the fight against corruption, but with tiny input from the EFCC. I won’t hesitate to give credit to the Department of State Security Service for very obvious reasons. Make no mistakes; I think one of the best decisions President Buhari has taken since coming into office was the choice of the Director General of the DSS and the attendant reorganisation witnessed. And one of the worst mistakes he has made also was the selection of the head of the EFCC and the choice of the National Security Adviser.
I will explain why. How can someone come out in the open to say some of his relatives are using his name to exploit people, and it ended there? That was what Mr. Magu said on the pages of newspapers. There was no account anywhere of him bringing those relatives to account for their despicable conduct. How can the National Security Adviser not be aware of that members of a highly sensitive committee under his watch are busy cutting corners and enriching themselves? What manner of anti-corruption war are we fighting? Your guess is as good as mine.
I will use a not so perfect example. President Buhari once fired his chief security officer for acts unbecoming of him because no individual is bigger than the country. The interest of the country should surpass all other interests, whether personal, ethnic or religious as the case may be. And it is ordinarily expected that President has to wield the big stick on the EFCC and the NSA in this case.
The EFCC chair, Mr. Magu is busy pointing accusing fingers. And that is the problem we have in this country. As a fact, I was so disgusted when I read in one of the online newspapers how the Chief of Staff to President Buhari is plotting to remove from office the EFCC chair. It was that bad. And I knew almost immediately that it was a sponsored campaign. Then I asked myself. Isn’t this a mockery of the efforts of Mr. President?
I am also disappointed in the NSA Major-General Mungono, who is supposed to be one of the trusted allies of President Buhari. It was not possible that Air Commodore Umar Muhammed (retd) who was arrested by the DSS for alleged fraudulent deals involving top government officials could have acted without Monguno’s involvement or knowledge as the National Security Adviser? And if the NSA so feign ignorance then does it not translates to incompetence? The ONSA had earlier issued a statement which has drawn the attention of Nigerians to the possible involvement of his office and the implication is that he can no longer be trusted with the investigation and therefore should tow the path of honour.
If President Buhari is serious about making headway in the fight against corruption in the country, the EFCC head should be redeployed back to force headquarters, and a more exposed and strategic officer be given the job as a first. Secondly, the idea of presidential panels should be discontinued immediate effect because of the embarrassment some of its members have caused the nation.
Only recently the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has asked the NSA, Major-General Mohammed Monguno to resign over the alleged shady dealings uncovered by the DSS at the Presidential Investigative Committee on Arms Procurement. I can’t agree less with their position because it’s such an embarrassment and rubbishes the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari.
The president must understand that some people are bent on rubbishing his war against corruption. And it’s quite sad. We have been washed with tales of how members of such committees have been helping themselves to the bank. And I call them the enemies within. They should stop pointing accusing fingers and sponsor meaningless petitions against the Chief of Staff in the media.
It is hoped that President Buhari will act in the interest of the country. We must not continue like this in the interest of peace and tranquillity. We are watching likewise the world especially when there are speculations that the anti-corruption war is selective. In this instance, the rational thing for the EFCC chair and the NSA to do is to tender their resignation and save us this embarrassment. And the country would be better for it.
Jam writes from No7 Wukari Street, Katsina Ala, Benue State.