By UMAR SA’AD HASSAN –
It didn’t make sense that Lawal Daura was acting without the knowledge of the presidency when his operatives shut down the National Assembly on August 7, 2018, particularly because the DSS with the help of some police officers had barricaded the residence of the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, and that of his deputy just days earlier. Nobody in the presidency raised any eyebrows. What made perfect sense, however, was that the Buhari administration was put under immense pressure by the numerous inquiries by foreign governments as to the manner of national security threat that warranted locking out lawmakers who had reported to carry out their duties.
Lawal Daura was the best possible scapegoat. You knew something definitely had to be wrong when the official narrative was that Saraki was using Daura to witch-hunt himself for 2019 purposes. It’s been over two months now and if indeed the man had done anything wrong, he would have been before a competent court of law.
When news broke that Sanni Baba-Inna, the aide de camp of Aisha Buhari, wife of the president of Nigeria, had defrauded some undisclosed persons of the sum of N2.5bn in her name, the spokespersons of the police and DSS claimed to be unaware. The only thing holding everything together in the first few hours that the story broke was the fact that the newspaper alerted the world to former finance minister Kemi Adeosun’s fake NYSC certificate and was generally known to be accurate in its claims. Lo and behold, the first lady confirmed the story herself and, from then on, there have been more questions than answers. In addition to the denials by the spokespersons of the police and DSS, the first report on the scandal also claims the IG of police has been listed as being among those who were defrauded by the ADC. He denied. Who exactly are those persons Baba-Inna swindled? No one has managed to even as much as speculate as to that. This only lends credence to the notion that the man dipped his hands into the first lady’s pie without her consent. He was part of some racket and started to grow some balls.
Before frontline activist and convener of the Concerned Nigerian Movement Adedeji Adeyanju paid a visit to the family of the detained ADC, a lot of us had been privy to rumours of the first lady collecting huge sums from prominent ex-officeholders under EFCC investigation and eager to avoid prosecution. Adeyanju’s visit was unravelling. Family members told him inasmuch as they knew he had made a statement to the authorities denying the commission of the offence, they knew he did it and that he would never relinquish possession of the money. The family said they knew he collected bribes on behalf of the first lady and was more or less her front. He helped her buy some properties in Asokoro and in Maitama, Abuja, for her daughters.
He is also in the know of a property she recently acquired in London and had photocopies of documents bordering on the transactions. Baba-Inna was said to have dared his interrogators to ask the first lady how he came about the said sum (from whom he got it).The family further told Mr Adeyanju that he had started to divert money he was collecting on behalf of Aisha Buhari and had got wind of plans to replace him, which might have prompted him to take the said N2.5bn which became an issue only when he blatantly refused to return it. If this is not the truth, then it is not far from it.
The ADC of the first lady has still not been charged to court in what clearly suggests that someone somewhere is afraid of what he may disclose in public.
Daura and Baba-Inna are ordinarily people the Buhari administration would be in a hurry to prosecute. Apart from adding a much-needed tinge of credibility to the president’s anti-corruption war, their cases would serve as a deterrent to the most crucial class of office-holders: those that wield power and influence at the highest levels.
Daura and Baba-Inna know too much and their oppressors are scared of putting them in a position to say all they know. Things are better this way, for the bush meat to not make the hunter prey.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.