Editor’s note: CNN has published a report from its reader on how conspiracy of retired generals in the Nigerian army forced President Muhammadu Buhari to leave the probe of $182m Halliburton bribe scandal.
In 1994, the Nigerian government were to build the Bonny Island Natural Liquefied Gas Project. In order to secure the contracts, $182 million was funneled by some internatonal companies to secure the $6billion contract which included a subsidiary of Haliburton.
Conspiracy of retired army generals prompts Aso Rock back down
CNN iReport gathered that few weeks before Buhari made his first visit to United States, he was informed that few retired army Generals who were erstwhile Heads-of-State were allegedly not happy with the planned moves by the no-nonsense disciplinarian to re-open the Halliburton scandal, with the sole intention to expose, disgrace and prosecute some of culpable generals and other highly-placed Nigerians whose hands may have been ‘soiled’ by the cookie-jar of corruption in Bonny Island Liquefied Natural Gas Project.
IBB, OBJ, Abdulsalami connection
As such, after General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), a former Nigeria’s Head of State received a phone call from General Olusegun Obasanjo, also a former Nigeria’s president where he brought the attention of IBB to the fact that the move Buhari was going to do about corruption-fight, he would eventually probe the majority of past administration, including IBB tenure. This position was echoed by another Nigerian Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar; which prompted a conspiracy theory to ‘place Buhari in order’. Abdusalami had visited IBB in his Minna castle in Niger state, there it was concluded that IBB should stylishly pass-on their position to Buhari to halt his earlier, intention to probe his predecessors.
In a press statement issued by IBB through his media adviser, Prince Kassim Afegbua, it reportedly reads: “On General Buhari, it is not in IBB’s tradition to take up issues with his colleague former president. But, for the purpose of the record, we are conversant with General Buhari’s so-called holier-than-thou-attitude. He is a one-time minister of petroleum and we have good records of his tenure. Secondly, he also presided over Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) which records we also have. We challenge him to come out in clean hands in those two portfolios he headed. Or, we will help him to expose his records of performance during those periods. Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones. General Buhari should be properly guided.”
READ ALSO: Halliburton Bribery Saga: Buhari Gives New Orders Before Departing To Washington
CNN iReport gathered when intelligence report reached Buhari on the position of these retired army Generals and former Heads of State, and bearing in mind how mean they can fully engage him in ‘dirty-fight’ which may ridicule him in the eyes of Nigerians and expose his stewardship then as minister of petroleum in 1976 that led to the mysterious disappearance of a whooping US $2.8 Billion from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) account in Midlands Bank, United Kingdom allegedly under his watchful-eyes, Buhari quickly made a detour and issued a press statement through Femi Adesina, his spokesman claiming the investigation of Buhari administration would only be limited to his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, the man who honourably handed peacefully to Buhari on May 28, 2015 at Eagle Square so Nigeria may remain united as an indivisible nation.
For the records, Buhari was appointed Minister of Petroleum in 1976 under the Murtala/Obasanjo administration. Not many people know about any scandals that occurred during his tenure as minister, but there are rumors of the mysterious disappearance of US$2.8 Billion from the NNPC account in Midlands Bank in the United Kingdom, during Buhari’s stewardship. Now that IBB has threatened to expose him, it lends certain credibility to the rumors indicting Buhari of grand graft.
‘Probe of my administration is a witch-hunt’ - GEJ
As if Jonathan knew that this would happen. In the last days of his administration as president in Aso Rock villa on May 27, 2015 during Federal Executive Council valedictory session witnessed by big-wigs of Peoples Democratic Party, he said: “Some people are even calling for the probe of the government, but I think in Nigeria, there are a lot of many things that will be probed, very many things, even debts owed by states and debts owed by this country from 1960 up to this time. They say it is Jonathan’s administration that owes these debts.”
“I believe that anybody that is coming for probe must also ensure that this probe is extended beyond the Jonathan administration. Otherwise, to me, it will be witch-hunt. If we are very sincere, it is not only the Jonathan administration that should be probed.”
CNNiReport investigation showed that Jonathan administration may have been singled-out as ‘corrupt government’ due to the fact that he was a minority-leader from Niger-Delta and obviously not a military, but a civilian leader. There are feelers from some Nigerians that this probe may not have happened if Jonathan had been a retired army General.
READ ALSO: Six Corruption Scandals That Have Rocked Nigeria
Folu Adewope, an undergraduate of University of Texas Arlington, UTA, said: “This is obviously a witch-hunt, charade and selective humiliation with ethnic coloration under corruption-guise. I strongly believe this investigation would not have happened if Jonathan had hailed from the North and had been a retired Army General. Why can’t Buhari open the Halliburton scandal, and openly prosecute Obasanjo, Abdusalami, Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigeria’s Vice president and every other corrupt Nigerians named in the scandal. As Nigerians, we are interested in this case.”
'We are interested in probing Jonathan’s govt' - presidency
Barely 10 hours ago, on his Facebook wall-page, Femi said: “It would be a distraction for the President to begin digging into all former administrations , but for a proper take -off of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, there is need to look into the immediate past government (GEJ). We are interested in investigating Jonathan’s government to recover stolen funds”.
Read the rest of the report on CNN
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.