Who was Sambo Dasuki Fronting for in GEJ’s Government?

Image: Chatham House via Flickr

Of all the accusations levelled against Sambo Dasuki, the ones that should rile every Nigerian, if true, are that he directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132,050,486.97 and €9,905,473.55 respectively to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for un-ascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions, and that he spent extra-budgetary interventions of N643,817,955,885.18 and $2,193,815,000.83 respectively without accountability . One individual…just because he is the National Security Adviser…could, without congressional allocation, direct the CBN to divert funds appropriated for one purpose in the National Budget, to other purposes not specified in the Budget? And this was allowed in a democratic dispensation? I think even before the DSS or the EFCC or the Police invite him, the Senate or a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Reps should invite him to testify about where he got the authorization to spend

Image: Chatham House via Flickr
Image: Chatham House via Flickr

money they did not appropriate. They should also ask him where he got the money to purchase those houses in Asokoro, Utako, Sokoto and Dubai. And as soon as he leaves the witness seat, the CBN officials who effected the transactions for him should be asked to explain under what fiduciary authorities they made such transactions.

These are pretty darn serious allegations from which anybody with a scintilla of integrity should not even attempt to run. All those judicial acrobatic displays his lawyers are giving us – the pliant judges that would issue perpetual or temporary injunctions and his sudden need for medical treatment abroad – are just fantastic summersaults that aren’t alien to President Muhammadu Buhari’s monkey. If you held the position of National Security Adviser, you should be volunteering yourself for scrutiny to those with the need-to-know privilege and explain what you have done.

But there are more. Dasuki is being asked to explain the “fictitious and phantom” contracts for the purchase of four Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha jets which cost $7 million each, along with contracts for 12 helicopters, explosives and ammunition of various prices and quantities paid for but which were allegedly not supplied. The government is also asking him to explain why he funded 53 failed contracts awarded at $2,378,939,066.27 and N13,729,342,329.87 respectively; and why he paid N3,850,000,000.00 to a single company without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to Nigeria.

The good thing is that Nigerians are not fools. We understand why this is not an easy task for Dasuki. This is uncharted terrain for him. He had been used to calling the shots and being treated with Pontiff-like deference. Now, somebody is daring to ask him questions! His embarrassment started with the July brazen invasion of his homes by men previously under his authority where they recovered seven high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears. They also recovered 12 new exotic vehicles, five of which were bullet proof. And Sambo could not produce evidence of ownership. If these were parts of the perks of his office as the NSA, nobody in the Federal government had any inkling of such properties having been officially given to him. Then this: the accusation that massive corruption took place under his watch. Dssuki cannot claim, like he is trying to do, that he spent Nigeria’s money on national security matters that only he is trusted with its secrecy. What country allows that? He needs to wake up quickly and smell the coffee very fast. He needs to recognize that the days or arrogance, nobody-can-touch-me and kleptomaniac impudence are over. This government…this President…is not playing.

The interesting thing about these power plays is that everybody knows what is really going on. Dasuki knows he is NOT the real target of Buhari’s investigation. Yes, he will pay for being complicit in the frauds, but he is not the biggest fish being sought by Buhari. There is no way any single person could steal so much all by himself in our system of government. And Dasuki himself almost admitted that much when he threatened to expose others. The way military procurement works, the end-user unit commander sends a request of what he needs to his higher command. The request makes its way up the chain of command until it gets to the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), if it is a big-ticket item…like buying a tank or a plane. The CDS runs the request back down the chain of command to ascertain the need for the equipment. Upon approval and if there is not an already allocated pocket of money for purchases like those, he and all the other Service Chiefs (Navy, Air Force and Army) deliberate about the request. They have to do this because one of them may have to sacrifice its own request in order to accommodate the new one. Once approved (in Nigeria), the NSA is officially notified. He reviews it and (only in Nigeria and before Buhari) by-passes the Minister of Defense altogether and takes it up to the President. Upon approval by the President, the Minister of Defense is directed to make funds available to the NSA for the items. The Defense Minister now, of course, has to know how much the item costs. Normally, contractors already registered by the government would bid for the supply and the one most favorable to the government will be awarded the contract. The Defense Minister now raises funds for the purchase.

But when things are not normal, you have the Defense Minister, in cahoots with the NSA and all those in the chain of approval, selecting whatever company in which they have interests to supply the item. This is where the tire meets the road and this is where the unscrupulous government official makes his heist. Was the contract executed at all? If not, who pocketed the money? Who else pocketed the money? (We all know you cannot steal N100 belonging to government without the acquiescence and connivance of the civil servants in the Ministries.) Did anybody follow the procurement rule of going all the way to the end-user unit to verify physical presence of the item? Was it ACTUALLY SUPPLIED? Was it ACTUALLY RECEIVED? If so, did it get to the requesting unit? Did it get to the troops? Are we sure somebody did not divert the weapon to another country even after receiving it? Or how come our troops regularly ran out of ammunition? Was the contract inflated or hyper-inflated to make room for kickbacks? How many people received kickbacks? For Buhari who has said openly that he wants to be remembered for fighting corruption, it will be an unmitigated disaster for his legacy if such a gargantuan fleecing went on in his primary constituency – the military – and he failed to unearth it and punish the culprits.

Dasuki should therefore stop reveling in his delusion of grandeur – seeing himself as such an important guy against whom Buhari would be vindictive. Yes, he stabbed Buhari in the back by joining Babangida in the 1985 palace coup that ousted Buhari. Yes, Babangida made him his ADC and helped accelerate his promotion. But he is just a pawn in these power games. Dasuki is right; it was not he alone…all by himself…who is culpable. And Buhari knows that! Buhari knows that Task Force and Division Commanders knew of and approved these arms purchases; Service Chiefs knew too; Ministers of Defense and of Finance knew; CBN officials knew; civil servants in the Ministries of Defense and Finance knew; Chiefs of Staff to the President knew; the Vice President knew; and the President knew. It is why Buhari will keep his foot on Dasuki’s throat until he fesses up. Nobody wants ordinary Dasuki. The fishes that Buhari really wants are peeing on themselves right now, hoping Dasuki would keep quiet forever. But in Buhari’s world, it is like the Yorubas say: “If you pull on “gburu”, “gburu” will pull on the rest of the bush? Others, including The Clueless One, who all ate “Gbi” will die “gbi”.

In an environment where people feel shame, Dasuki would bury himself in ignominy for being the NSA who almost spent Nigeria into bankruptcy while Boko Haram grew from strength to strength; from rag-tag suicide bombers to a sophisticated insurgent army complete with full-spectrum infantry weapons, tactics and techniques; for our soldiers falling like ninepins to militants, running out of ammunition and other critical supplies during battles, therefore being forced to turn tail and run for dear lives. Under him, Nigeria hired mercenaries to help defend its territorial integrity and honor. Dasuki, as NSA, single-handedly caused the 2015 general elections to be postponed when he shamelessly announced that the military was not going to be able to guarantee security for the elections. Under him, gun-running became almost like selling pure water as every ethnocentric militant group became armed to the teeth. Under him, Nigeria ferried raw cash aboard a private plane and smuggled it into South Africa. Nigeria almost became a pariah nation with nobody willing to sell weapons to us in open markets like all respected and respectable countries do; we resorted to buying weapons on the black market. Dasuki should be ashamed that he had no grasp of NATIONAL SECURITY and was just ripping the nation off. He took advantage of GEJ’s naiveté and recumbent morality and constituted himself into an institution in government, riding everybody roughshod like Nigeria was his fiefdom. He was a fraud.

Many have questioned his qualification for that office. Was he trained in anything other than handling a gun? Other than participation in two coups, was he ever exposed to a real military conflict anywhere in the world? Did he have the spread and depth of intelligence collection and dissemination; the depth and spread of Nigeria’s political, economic and social fibers to hold that position? Didn’t this guy get the NSA job only because he was a protégé of Babangida? Was this Babangida’s way of getting even with Sanni Abacha who deposed and banished Dasuki’s father, Ibrahim Dasuki, as Sultan of Sokoto in 1996?

Nigerians are excited about the prospect of nailing a big fish in this anti-corruption crusade. Yes, they are disappointed that all the noise about Saraki and Alison-Madueke fizzled out and nobody is talking about those folks anymore. They wonder now if their excitement about Dasuki will also come to naught. They are eager for answers to just one question: Who really was Sambo Dasuki fronting for in Jonathan’s cabinet? That is the main question to which Buhari is also seeking answers.


Image: Chatham House via Flickr

Written by
Abiodun Ladepo
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