The Dasuki Arms Deal Case Is A National Embarrassment

The Dasuki Arms Deal Case Is A National Embarrassment

Editor's note: Today, Thuesday, December 15, Sambo Dasuki, the former national security adviser, faced the court in the case of the allegedly looted funds meant for arms purchase, and was pleaded not guilty. Though the charges were dismissed, the involvment of the former NSA and other prominent officials into the corruption-related case has certainly not contributed to the goodwill of Nigeria in the eyes of the international community. 

In a contribution to Legit.ng Ubaka Chukwuka Maximus explains what benefits Nigeria could have now enjoyed had the money in question been spent on what they should have been spent.

The corruption case of mass destruction

Apart from the Halliburton saga, no other corruption case has networked the individuals previously considered sacred and untouchable the way the Dasuki gate is doing. The beauty of this process is that at least the people are being questioned unlike during the Halliburton process, when the PDP used the “party-party and paddy-paddy” arrangement to sweep everything under the carpet. Big names like Bashir Yuguda, Attahiru Bafarawa, Bode George, David Mark, Bukola Saraki, Peter Odili, and the mother of all names, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, have been mentioned. ScanNews Nigeria is also accusing the sitting president of benefiting from the Dasuki bounty as the NSA allegedly compensated Buhari with $300,000 for the damage caused to his bulletproof car by Boko Haram. Such is the benevolence of Dasuki.

READ ALSO: The Beneficiaries Of Dasuki's Loot Revealed

READ ALSO: $2.1B Arms Scandal: Dasuki Set To Name Ex-Presidents Who Received Funds

Before we jump the gun it is necessary to state that according to the Constitution, Section 36(5), Sambo Dasuki is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. The intention of this piece is far from to pronounce him either guilty or innocent, but to X-ray the implication of the decision made by his office on the national image.

The blamestorming session

The sum of $2.422 billion was allegedly either misappropriated or stolen by Sambo Dasuki and his accomplices; this sum comprises the money intended to be used to boost the national security: the $2.1 billion of the extra-budgetary arms purchase money, the transfer of $322 million of Abacha’s loot is also included. However, the figures may sound vague. The understanding of what this money would have done to the Nigerian security will help to elucidate the point better. According to different sources and my own calculations, $2.442 billion could have provided the Nigerian military forces with 751, 384 M762 automatic rifles, 4, 070, 000 AK-47 rifles, 2, 035 T-72 armoured tanks, 222 AH-1 Cobra helicopters, and 145 F-7NI bomber jets.

According to the 2013 record, the Nigerian army has the manpower strength of 162,000. Using this figure it can easily be calculated that if the missing money had been used to buy just M762 rifles, each soldier would have had four such riffles, or 25 AK-47, if only AK-47 had been bought. N2.442 billion used to purchase T-72 armored tanks could have provided each of the six army divisions with the additional 339 tanks, and the air force could have had the additional 222 AH-1 Cobra choppers or 145 F-7NI bomber jets.

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In God we trust, the rest we check

It is needless to say that $2.442 billion could have effectively made Nigerian soldiers battle-ready. It would not only have boosted the soldiers’ morale, but would also have instilled the overwhelming confidence of victory in them. It is natural for the APC to cloth the truth of the Dasuki case with sweet lies for the sake of political patronage, but we cannot remove the fact that both Dokpesi and Nduka Obaigbena have confessed of receiving the money - N500 million to Obaigbena and N100 million to the newspaper owners association for being attacked by Boko Haram. How much was paid to the families that lost their breadwinners to terrorism? Is the money meant for the national defense not the victims’ intervention fund? Curiously, how much damage had Thisday Corporation suffered during the Abuja bomb blast that it was given N500 million compensation?  We may take it for granted that Dasuki bought some arms, but in the spirit of transparency it is the duty of Nigerians and the government to check whether what he bought coincides with what should have been bought. You can term it value for money audit. The Dokpesi part is even more bizarre as N2.1 billion was reported to have been accrued to his account. Let’s not doubt that the money was the payment for the PDP presidential media coverage, but should such money come from the NSA? This is the gross misuse of public funds.

READ ALSO: Arms Deal Saga: Top 10 People Who Have Been Implicated

Something is better than nothing

It can be argued that the APC is as guilty as the PDP in using public funds to cover the campaign expenses. However, let’s deal with the thief we know, and then pray and hope for a fair electoral system. In all honesty, the selective fight against corruption is better than no fight at all. President Buhari should fight all corrupt leaders he does not like, keeping a clean slate of his activities in case the pendulum swings. If the former president Jonathan had led his own selective fight against the Obasanjo regime, especially with the looted $16 billion, which was eight times what Dasuki is being accused of, we would not have had such number of leaders involved in the pending corruption cases as we do today.

READ ALSO: Arms Deal: Tell Your Members To Cooperate - APC Tells PDP

It is high time we stop being gullible, when the leaders sing the hymn of witch-hunting and victimization. What we need to do is to find out whether Dasuki misappropriated N2.442 billion or not. Forget his past with Buhari during the 1985 coup, or the perceived hatred of the APC government for anything that has to do with the former ruling party. What should agitate our minds most is that the missing money could have comfortably built a new military infrastructure from scratch.

A show of shame

We earnestly pray for the Dasuki drama not to go the way of Farouk Otedola’s. We hope that the judiciary will do the needful by looking into the evidence before convicting or acquitting him and his accomplices. We are equally optimistic that the DSS and the EFCC can provide the substantial evidence against Dasuki to enlist a conviction. If there is not enough evidence of his wrong deeds, then this Dasuki gate is just a media jamboree scripted and executed by the APC in conjunction with the DSS and the EFCC with the primary objective of distracting Nigerians from the hunger and sense of hopelessness we are faced with.

Presently I am imagining what the international community will think of Nigeria, but the attention the same international community is paying the former president presiding over this mess gets one confused, as if it knows what we do not know about Jonathan’s government. Boko Haram will be happy with this show of shame, and the IPOB advocates will beat their chest and say: “We knew Nigeria is a Zoo.” The absence of an Igbo man in this scandal will surely make them scream even louder.

The Dasuki Arms Deal Case Is A National Embarrassment
Ubaka Chukwuka Maximus for Legit.ng

Mr Chukwuka is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng or its editors.

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