• ‘Expose sponsors of Boko Haram, herdsmen’
• ‘We are tired of weak President and strong Presidency’
• ‘Malami goofed’
By Neta Nwosu
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day speech where he stated that the government has identified the sponsors of the secessionist agitators, Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, alias Igboho, and ready to take decisive actions against them is still raising dust. The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye fired the latest shot. Bishop Ajakaye charged the President to extend his probe to uncovering and prosecuting the financiers of Boko Haram, kidnappers, bandits and herdsmen beyond picking on only Kanu and Igboho. Bishop Ajakaye was reacting to the speech made by the President to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary during his homily at the Thanksgiving Mass of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (JKF), Governor of Ekiti State held recently at St. Patrick Catholic Cathedral, Ado-Ekiti.
Wondering why the Federal Government is yet to prosecute the sponsors of the secessionist agitators, the cleric urged Nigerian leaders to tackle the insecurity issues with sincerity and stop trading blames. Most Rev. Ajakaye said, “Addressing Nigerians on the 61st Independence of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that there were high profile Nigerians, including members of the National Assembly, sponsoring Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo. If this is the case and with such statement from the country’s President, since then, why have the people not been mentioned and prosecuted to date? Not only that, why did he single out both Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, alias Igboho? What of those behind Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers and the herdsmen?”
Buhari had previously said in his speech during the 61st Independence Day anniversary of Nigeria, that the government had been able to identify sponsors of the secessionist groups and their leaders. He had disclosed that among them is a member of the National Assembly. “The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted, have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. “We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly,” President Buhari had said. Describing the insecurity issue as a problem that has turned a monster, the prelate blamed the increasing wave of insurrection in the country on what he termed as selfish and nepotistic attitude of Nigeria’s leaders. Hear him, “We can win this terrible monster if most of Nigeria’s leaders decide to set aside their selfish and nepotistic attitude, be sincere and face the problem frontally. Internal saboteurs should be fished out and be properly prosecuted.
They are the real enemies of the State. If we do not deal with the internal enemies, we cannot deal with the external enemies. At the same time, our fellow brothers and sisters at the war fronts must be paid their dues and their benefits as and when due. They must be well taken care of if we want to achieve concrete results.” Political analysts, institutions, groups and individuals, including serving members of the House of Assembly have continued to prevail on the President to name the sponsors of Boko Haram and prosecute them accordingly.
Pressures are also on the House to invoke Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to get to the root of the matter. The section reads, “88. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into -(a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and “(b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for (i) executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly, and (ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
“(2) The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to – (a) make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and (b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.” But all these demands have fallen on deaf ears. Recently, the Federal Government has said it has successfully blocked terrorism financing in Nigeria, Mallam Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (SAN), has said.. Malami told the News Agency of Nigeria in New York about two weeks ago that the federal government had also succeeded in identifying and detaining “high profile individuals” responsible for funding terrorists’ activities in the country. Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had in March 2021 said the Nigerian Government arrested 400 Bureau De Change operators for allegedly funding Boko Haram insurgency in the country, saying the suspects were transferring money to the terrorists.
The AGF had earlier announced in May that the Nigerian government was about to begin the prosecution of about 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers and was profiling some high-profile Nigerians strongly suspected to be financing terrorism for prosecution. The delay in their prosecution and unveiling of the suspects have been criticised in certain quarters. Bishop Ajakaye queried, “Did the President’s appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, not say a few months ago that about 400 Nigerians were behind the insecurity bedeviling Nigeria? Again, to date, no concrete action has been taken. No wonder, we are still where we are regarding this insecurity problem that has become a monster. We should stop the incessant blame game by the Federal Government of Nigeria.” But far from it the government has since reneged on its words. There will be no more naming of the suspected financiers of terrorism.
But lately, Shehu’s colleague, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, speaking as a Guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by The Catholic Herald said the Buhari government is not interested in naming and shaming the financiers of terrorism but in their prosecution. In same vein, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, also said the government would not name and shame the suspected financiers of terrorism before they are tried and convicted. Malami has been on the front burner over a number of his remarks that have consistently attracted opposing views. The Bishop of Ekiti also expressed his displeasure at the Attorney-General of the Federation over his statement for the federal government to declare a state of emergency in Anambra if the security situation in the state did not improve to allow a peaceful conduct of election.
He took swipe at the AGF saying that he goofed when he announced the possible declaration of a state of emergency in Anambra state, “The Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami goofed greatly by threatening Anambra State with the Emergency Rule. It was when the Governor of the State, Chief Willie Obiano visited President Buhari that the latter told the former that he was not aware of such plan by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Those who threaten others are deficient.” Commenting on the forth coming elections which he tagged, ‘Elections 2022 and 2023: Politics of Competency as against Politics of Incompetency’ the Bishop advised, “This demands responsible leadership and responsible followership. We need competent Nigerians to emerge as Governors and President in Nigeria for Nigeria to be where she ought to be. For those agitating for Zoning, the best must emerge from that Zone to be Nigeria’s President, not a recycled, weak and incompetent person. Somebody, not just anybody, to be Nigeria’s President must be healthy both in mind and in body. We are tired of weak President and strong Presidency. Let us also be firm in fighting vote selling and vote buying. People should stop mortgaging their future and the unborn generations today. Tomorrow may be too late.”