By Nelson Ekujumi
By Nelson Ekujumi
Bruce Fein a constitutional lawyer and a senior official in the Department of Justice under Ronald Reagan administration has frowned on what he called 'selective prosecution' of officials who served under former President Jonathan. He chided President Buhari on and reminded him of gross misappropiation of public funds under his watch when he headed the Petroleum Ministry and Petroleum Trust Fund. This cleansing, he said, must start from himself if his war on corrupt public officials is anything to go by.
Below is his letter to Nigeria's strongman, President Buhari:
''Aso Rock, Abuja Nigeria
Dear President Buhari:
When you visited the United States Institute of Peace last July, you pledged that you would be “fair, just and scrupulously follow due process and the rule of law, as enshrined in [the Nigerian]constitution” in prosecuting corruption.
Such loftiness is laudable. As the Bible instructs in Amos 5:24: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
But to be just, the law must be evenhanded. It cannot, in the manner of Russian President Vladimir Putin, be something that is given to punish your enemies and withheld to favor your friends. If so, the law becomes an instrument of injustice bearing earmarks of the wicked rather than the good.
In the United States, you declared a policy of “zero tolerance” against corruption. You solicited weapons and other assistance from the United States government based on that avowal. But were you sincere?
During your election campaign, you promised widespread amnesty, not zero tolerance. You elaborated: “Whoever that is indicted of corruption between 1999 to the time of swearing-in would be pardoned. I am going to draw a line, anybody who involved himself in corruption after I assume office, will face the music.”
After you were inaugurated, however, you disowned your statement and declared you would prosecute past ministers or other officials for corruption or fraud. And then again you immediately hedged. You were reminded of your dubious past by former Major General and President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who succeeded your military dictatorship. He released this statement:
“On General Buhari, it is not in IBB’s tradition to take up issues with his colleague former President. But for the purpose of 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 as minister. Secondly, he presided over the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, which records we also have.
We challenge him to come out with 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 should not throw stones. General Buhari should be properly guided.”
You then swiftly backed off your zero tolerance policy because you would have been its first casualty. You opportunistically announced that zero tolerance would be narrowed to the predecessor administration of Goodluck Jonathan because to probe further would be “a waste of time.” That conclusion seems preposterous. In 2012, the World Bank’s ex-vice president for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili, estimated that a stupendous $400 billion in Nigerian oil revenues had been stolen or misspent since independence in 1960. The lion’s share of that corruption spans far beyond the Jonathan administration.
Your zero tolerance policy seems to come with a squint to avoid seeing culpability in your political friends. A few examples are but the tip of the iceberg.
A Rivers State judicial commission of inquiry found that N53 billion disappeared from the Rivers State Reserve Fund under former governor Rotimi Amaechi. Former Lagos governor and head of your campaign finance team Babatunde Fashola was accused of squandering N78 million of government money to upgrade his personal website. The EFCC has ignored these corruption allegations, and you have given both promotions: the Ministry of Transport to Mr. Amaechi, and the Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing to Mr. Fashola.
In contrast, you have played judge, jury, and prosecutor in the newspapers to convict former PDP Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke of corruption.
Is this evenhanded justice?
United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson taught: “There is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected.”
To investigate or prosecute based on political affiliation or opinion also violates Articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is unworthy of a great nation like Nigeria.
Make the hallmark of your administration justice, not retribution, and you may live for the ages.
I am a United States citizen and lawyer. I have no political standing in Nigeria. Some might argue that my speaking about the administration of justice in Nigeria bespeaks impertinence But you chose to visit the United States to solicit weapons and other assistance from my government–a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The United States government represents me. What the United States government does reflects on me. I thus have an interest in addressing the actions of foreign governments that receive United States government aid.
Sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants.
Bruce Fein Fein
& DelValle PLLC
300 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20001
Bruce Fein is a United States constitutional lawyer and senior official in the United States Department of Justice under former President Ronald Reagan
Disclaimer: Letters, views and articles we published are entirely the author's and do no reflect or represent the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
The Director General,
State Security Service,
Re:Demand for the unconditional release of Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenat Ibraheem from unlawful detention
We are Solicitors to Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenat Zakzaky on whose behalf we write this letter.
Your letter dated 8th April 2016 in respect of the above subject matter refers.
In line with the constitutional rights of our clients to brief and discuss with their clients without official interference we rejected the illegal move by some personnel of the State Security Service to participate in the meeting we held with our clients in your custody last week. Since you and your officers were not privy to the confidential discussions your claim that our clients instructed us to appear before the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government is a figment of your fecund imagination.
Having been kept incommunicado since December 14, 2016 our clients were unaware of the setting up of the Commission. Upon briefing them they categorically instructed us not to appear at the Commission in view of their prolonged detention without trial. We never knew that we were granted access to our clients for the sole purpose of preparing them to appear before the Commission.
Having failed to achieve the dubious objective you have decided to impugn our professional integrity.
In rejecting the embarrassing imputation which lacerated your aforesaid letter we wish to reiterate that we cannot appear before the Commission while our clients are locked up by the perpetrators of the genocidal attack unleashed on them and other unarmed civilians at Zaria, Kaduna state from December 12-14, 2015.
Although our clients were not present at the scene of the dastardly attack the armed soldiers invaded his private residence vi et armis on Sunday, December 14, 2015 on the instructions of the Authorities of the Nigerian Army. The rampaging troops set the house ablaze and opened fire on our clients and their family members. Our clients were severely injured while 3 of their children were shot dead in their presence.
As if that was not enough, the Kaduna State Government assisted the assailants by demolishing the burnt house of our clients. The Government also provided logistics to the murderers for the secret burial of the corpses of the slain children of our clients and the corpses of hundreds of other unarmed civilians in an unmarked shallow grave. In a desperate bid to cover up its role in the commission of such crimes against humanity the Government turned around to institute the Commission to investigate "the remote and immediate causes" of the crisis.
However, to prevent our clients from telling their own side of the story at the Commission by exposing the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by the state sponsored murderers and their collaborators the authorities have decided to continue to detain them without trial.
In the same vein, the 182 people who survived the gruesome attack have since been arraigned on a trumped up charge of culpable homicide by the Governnent at the High Court holden at Kaduna. And to prevent the "suspects" from giving evidence at the Commission they are being held in prison custody at the instance of the Government as it is crystal clear that the Authorities have decided to allow the Commission to hear only one side of the story my colleagues and I are unable to accede to your request to reconsider our position.
In other words, we cannot persuade ourselves to appear before the Commission in the absence of our clients who are prepared to to give eye witness accounts of the barbaric murder of hundreds of unarmed civilians, including women and children, the mindless destruction of properties and the illegal burial of the bodies of the people who were either killed or injured in the attack by the armed troops and their accomplices.
In view of the foregoing you will agree with us that your claim that we have misrepresented our clients on the issue of appearance at the Commission is totally baseless. However, if you are convinced that we have misrepresented our clients in the circumstance we dare you to release them to facilitate their appearance before the Commission.
Femi Falana (SAN)
PARIS, JANUARY 3, 2016: (DGW) Mr. President, as one of your most loyal and faithful subjects who has nothing but the utmost respect for your person and your office, I am constrained to write you this open letter. This is because there are issues I believe are important for you to clarify and to come clean on. I say this because some of your assertions of late are at best contradictory.
Whichever side of the political divide we are on, I believe we can all agree on one thing: The prosecution of the war against terror is not something that any of us should play politics with. This is especially so given the fact that human lives are at stake and the very existence of our nation is under threat. Like much of the rest of the world, our country is going through hell at the hands of jihadists and Islamist terrorists.
There is no gainsaying that we must all come to terms with the fact that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Al Shabab and Boko Haram are nothing but bloodthirsty murderers. They are indeed the scum of the earth, the troublers of humanity and the vermin of hell. It is with this in mind that I urge you to take the war against terror far more seriously than you are doing and plead with you to stop passing the buck.
Your penchant for blaming your failings in this regard on the previous administration is simply nauseating and it does not serve you well. You continuously contradict yourself when it comes to this matter. We your subjects look up to you for consistency, strength, unequivocal commitment, a firm resolve and the ‘’leadership from the front’’ that you promised during your presidential campaign in this war. We do not want and neither do we need doublespeak, lame excuses and buck-passing.
Permit me to point out a few examples of your contradictory assertions and your buck- passing in this short intervention. Initially, you claimed that your predecessor in office, President Goodluck Jonathan, never bought any arms and that, instead, he squandered and stole all the money that was appropriated for the procurement of arms.
Yet, when the British Minister of Defense visited you in the Presidential Villa the other day, the story changed. You did a u-turn and gleefully told him and the wider world that Jonathan bought arms with raw cash.
One wonders which story you shall come up with next and which one you will conjure up in the future. Kindly tell us what the position is: Is it that Jonathan did not buy arms at all and stole all the money or is it that he used cash to buy arms? You cannot have it both ways. It is either one or the other.
Quite apart from your glaring doublespeak on this matter, there was another issue which you ought to have raised with your highly esteemed and respected British guest. You failed to tell him that his was one of the countries that not only refused to sell weapons to us during the course of this bitter conflict but that also helped to impose and enforce the international arms embargo on our country even though we are at war.
This resulted in the unnecessary death of thousands of our people because we found it difficult to procure the weapons to protect them. Your guest’s country insisted on toeing the American line and doing this to us, even though we were fighting a war against a relentless, well-motivated, well-funded and well-armed fighting force that Global Terror Index has described as the ‘’deadliest terrorist organization in the world’’. One is forced to ask: With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Given the fact that the embargo was in place, one wonders how we were supposed to procure arms unless we did so with raw cash in the black market. The alternative was to buy none at all, to do nothing and to allow Boko Haram to take Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Lagos. Perhaps that is precisely what your Western friends and allies wanted but, thankfully, it never came to pass.
Despite the challenges and constraints Jonathan faced, instead of losing any more ground, he rose to the occasion and retook no less than 22 local government areas and virtually pushed Boko Haram out of Nigeria. The only place that they occupied by the time the election took place was Sambisa forest.
The former President achieved this with those arms that he bought with raw cash. This is apparently what you are now complaining about. Permit me to remind you that it is those same arms that Jonathan bought with raw cash that your army is still using till today. Yet, sadly, since you were sworn- in as President, seven months ago, you have lost some of those same local government areas that were earlier recovered and they are now back in the hands of terrorists.
Despite this, you keep telling the international community and the Nigerian people that we are ‘’making progress’’ in the war against terror. As a matter of fact, you went as far as to say that we had ‘’won the war’’ against Boko Haram and your Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, echoed that grotesque mendacity and reiterated that sentiment by adding the words ‘’technically won’’ (whatever that may mean) to the equation.
Sadly, two days later, on Christmas day, in what can only be described as an eloquent response from the terrorists, scores of innocent civilians were killed by Boko Haram in Borno State and a whole community was burnt to the ground. Again, on Sunday, December 27, Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, came under heavy attack from the terrorists. Yet again, on Monday, December 28, in Adamawa State, Boko Haram launched a series of suicide bomb attacks in which at least 50 civilians were killed. So much for having ‘’won the war against Boko Haram’’, whether ‘’technically’’ or otherwise.
Curiously, the next thing that you did was to tell Nigerians that you would ‘’persuade Boko Haram to drop their arms’’. One is compelled to ask: Why would you have to persuade them to drop their arms if you had already defeated them and won the war against them?
In any case, this would be the first time in the history of modern warfare that a sitting President has sought to destroy and defeat a vicious and relentless terrorist organization and win the war against terror simply with the awesome and devastating weapon of persuasion. Perhaps you should recommend that same tactic to the Americans and the rest of the international community as an effective and credible weapon to adopt in their war against ISIL, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab and all the other jihadist groups that plague the world.
Whilst you are at it, perhaps you could also persuade Boko Haram to free the Chibok girls. It is disturbing to note that despite all your campaign promises and assurances that once you are elected President the girls would be rescued or returned, nothing has been done or heard about any of them ever since you were sworn- in. Worste still, the Bring Back Our Girls group, which was essentially an appendage of your election organization, together with its distinguished leaders and conveners, appear to have gone very quiet. I guess they are busy trying to persuade Boko Haram to drop their arms too.
Sadly, you appear to be detached from reality. Instead of fighting the war against terror, you are making it worse with the killing of Shia Muslims in Zaria on December 12, locking up their leader Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky and opening yet another war front in our country. The last thing that we need is for Hezbollah or the Iranian Republican Guard to rise to the occasion, take up the challenge, jump into the fray and decide to protect and avenge their Shia Muslim brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria.
Yet, despite the reprehensible and indefensible actions of your military commanders in Zaria, you have refused to show any remorse for what was undoubtedly a war crime against fellow Nigerians and you have not prosecuted the officers and military personnel that were involved in the butchery. Instead the homes of the victims and those that share their Shia faith have been burnt to the ground in Zaria and their graves and burial sites have been dug up and desecrated.
Worse still, you have refused to defend our country. I say this because a few days ago the Cameroonian military invaded our country, violated our territorial integrity and savagely murdered over 70 Nigerians in their village before burning it down.
Your government refused to acknowledge that this event even took place, despite media reports. You did not console or express condolences to the families of the victims or retaliate against the Cameroonians.
You did not even warn them or demand an apology or reparations from them. It could not have happened under Jonathan, Obasanjo, Babangida, Shagari, Abacha, Abubakar, Shonekan, Mohammed, Balewa or indeed any other former Nigerian President or Head of State. If any of them had been in power and the Cameroonians cultivated the effrontery to do such a thing, there would have been consequences.
Yet, you did nothing to avenge this affront or to defend our honor. What happened to the gallant and brave General Buhari that courageously led our troops into victory in Chad in the early 1980s? What happened to the man that we all admired and looked up to because of his military exploits in Chad? What happened to the war hero that gave the Chadians a ‘’bloody nose’’ for daring to attack a Nigerian village and that almost took Ndjamena, the Chadian capital? What happened to the man who proved to the Libyans and their Chadian proxies that Nigerians knew how to fight? It appears that you have changed and that you are no longer the man that you used to be.
You refuse to tell the world that our military is terribly demoralized, our soldiers are suffering heavy casualties and are not being paid their salaries regularly and, worst of all, you have failed to procure a single bullet or weapon for them to use in the last seven months since you came to power.
Instead of deploying all the power of the state against Boko Haram, you have spent all your energy and resources trying to teach the former National Security Advisor, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, and all your other perceived enemies the lesson of their lives by misrepresenting them before the world, subjecting them to state-sponsored tyranny and the most insidious form of persecution, violating their human rights and telling the world that they stole and shared money that was meant for the purchase of arms.
You have also misinformed the Nigerian people about the rules and conventions that are applied when it comes to the administration of security funds and about the fact that it is the National Assembly alone that has the right to probe the use of such funds as part of their oversight functions. To cap it all, you have claimed you did not receive any benefit from the NSA ‘s office whilst Jonathan was in power. This is an assertion which we all know is, at best, questionable.
You must understand that any leader or government that is motivated by bitterness, fear, hate, vengeance and malice will eventually hit the rocks and crash like a pack of cards. You must appreciate the fact that God is watching and that He sees and knows all.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari,
Commander-in-Chief of The Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
ABORTING A WAITING CATASTROPHE
I have discussed this matter at some informal fora with friends. I had to battle with the idea of whether or not to make public my candid thoughts on a particular disturbing national issue. I refer to no other than the discriminatory posturing of the nation's military and law enforcement agencies in dealing with issues connected with pro Biafra agitators. I cannot begin here to recite the numerous instances of abuse of fundamental rights, flagrant disobedience of court judgments, etc. No.
These acts are self evident. I call your attention here because when such acts are committed and no investigation is conducted, no one is arrested and no one is prosecuted, the people are left with no option than to blame the chief executive. Your Excellency, sir, if these acts do not have your signature, then intervene now.
It is important to remind Your Excellency that these agitators have gained international reputation as non violent groups. The efforts being made by the DSS to criminalize these groups and label them terrorists is childish and futile. They know where to look for insurgents and terrorists in Nigeria, not with these peaceful agitators. Terrorists are not hiding their identity. I want you to know, Mr President, that a greater percentage of these groups are from the Southeast.
They are responsible young men and women with legitimate means of livelihood, and many of them doing exceedingly well in their different chosen careers. This brings me to the crux of this letter, Mr. President.
In Nigeria, different ethnic nationalities are known for peculiar areas of excellence. It is no longer news that the Igbo are known as a people who can virtually turn anything into wealth. NADECO was founded and funded by the Yoruba. Under a scorching military regime it still flourished. It owned pirate radio stations. Yet, they were not labeled terrorists.
The military didn't brazenly open fire on their gathering. The Niger Delta youths have been into militancy since the time of Isaac Adaka Boro and the federal government under the late former president Umar Musa Yaradua was sensitive enough to negotiate amnesty with them, a strategy which I hear, Mr President, you too have adopted.
The Boko Haram terrorists have been killing innocent people but you are still willing to negotiate with them. No finger has even ever been raised against the murderous Fulani Herdsmen. However, for the peaceful pro Biafra protesters, your government has consistently massacred in Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Asaba, Nkpor.
With this kind of treatment why won't the average Igbo youths want to renounce their Nigerian citizenship? I want to whisper this to you Mr President, the enterprising Igbo youths see opportunity in every situation. So don't let them discover the economic opportunities in terrorism.
Don't forget too quickly what happened in our recent history when kidnapping, which hitherto was the exclusive preserve of the creeks militants, was discovered by jobless Igbo youths. Your Excellency Sir, don't let them discover that in militancy there is oil bunkering, and that terrorism attracts international collaborators.
Mr President please stop dumping our youths in prisons to become hardened. Mr President release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu from an unjust incarceration. I urge you to look into the grievances of the group.
Try, Mr President, to nip in the bud this catastrophe in the waiting because an angry youth is a dangerous weapon. Those you release from incarceration, distract them from the attraction of easy money inherent in militancy by quickly rehabilitating them.
I have taken time to write you this long letter Your Excellency because of the fear that if these my abused brothers should discover the hidden lures of terrorism, I bet you, Africa, albeit the world, cannot contain the fineness and sophistication they will introduce to it. A stitch in time, Mr President, they say, saves nine.
Thank you and God bless you.
The Guerrilla Commentator
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By Abdulmumin Giwa
Members of the Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, AFIMN have staged a protest march in Abuja on Friday calling for immediate and unconditional release of SheIkh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
The forum made up of students and university lecturers under the leadership of the detained Sheikh have earlier submitted their demands to the upper and lower houses calling for the Sheikh’s release.
Staging a rally at the gate of the National Assembly, AFIMN was received by a staff of the Assembly who asked whether they have submitted any letter to the assembly and they confirmed to him that they have and even gave him copies as well.
He then explained that the members of the assembly have all left and that their message shall be conveyed to them for onward action.
The rally is part of the week long activities of the Forum’s annual Imam’s Week commemorated to celebrate the birth of the late leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Ayatullahi Ruhullah Khumaini.
Members of the forum raised posters of fellow students killed by the Nigerian Army when they attacked a flag hoisting event organized by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN in Zaria in December last year.
“Not less than 67 undergraduates and postgraduates were killed in the 48 hour extra-judicial killing embarked upon by the Army in Zaria when it attacked the IMN on 12th to 14th of December 2016” said an official of the AFIMN.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian government has faced global condemnations for the incessant killings of the IMN members by the Army which forced the Nigeria government to confess burying 347 corpses of the over 850 declared missing by the movement.
The Amnesty International released video footages of mass grave and called on the Nigerian government to come clean having committed a serious crime against humanity.
Earlier, the Human Rights Watch had condemned the government for killing unarmed civilians while the Islamic Human Right Commission of London has taken the case before the International Criminal Court ICC in The Hague with Nigerian officials charged for crime against humanity.
By Femi Fani-Kayode
Mr. President, you will recall that I wrote you an open letter on December 28th, 2015 which I sincerely hope that you found most gratifying, illuminating and helpful. That was two days before your Presidential media chat which took place on December 30th. I hereby humbly crave your indulgence to add an addendum to that open letter. That is what this contribution represents.
I hope and pray that this second letter, which will be the last, will further enlighten you and impart a little more wise counsel to you that will result in assisting you to properly appreciate the complexities of our times.
Mr. President it is pertinent to note that approximately two hundred and sixty five years ago one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, Mr. Benjamin Franklin, said “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”. I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that he was absolutely right.
Just in case you do not know who Benjamin Franklin was permit me to point out the fact that he is a man that is reverred by the American people and much of the civilised world up until today and he is the individual whose face appears on the one hundred U.S. dollar bills that are used till today.
He was a great statesman, diplomat, politician and intellectual and most important of all he was a deeply courageous man who was motivated by his deepest convictions and his christian values and who was prepared to risk life and liberty and stand up to tyranny.
I guess most Nigerian leaders have much to learn from him especially at times like this. Yet thankfully all is not lost and at least a few of our politicians are beginning to find their voice and speak out against the evil in the land. Permit me to share one example with you.
A few days ago Chief Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of our great party the PDP, exposed the fact that there was an orchestrated attempt by your government to intimidate, silence and utterly decimate and crush the opposition.
In open defiance to what can best be described as this insidious and sinister agenda he told the world that ”President Buhari is not God and we will not worship him”. Whether he knows it or not Metuh has not only spoken for the PDP but also for the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people.
Permit me to add the following words to his timely contribution. Woe unto those that tremble before men of power and that worship false gods. Destruction and perdition awaits those who bow before Baal, who exalt the servants of Belial, who kiss the ring of the Baphomet, who say ”Buhari is God” and who crawl at the feet of the Lord of the Flies.
Mr. President the point is simple and clear: you are not God and even though we respect your office we will never bow before you, we will never worship you, we will not relent in our efforts to oppose you and, regardless of your constant threats and wicked intentions, we have absolutely no fear of you.
This is because our fate and destiny and the future of our beloved country lies in the hands of the Living God and not in the hands of any misguided and tyrannical dictator. Injustice, persecution and tyranny last only for a season.
At the appointed time the Lord will step in and He will deliver and vindicate the falsely accused and the righteous captive. He will also avenge the spilling of innocent blood and He will fight the cause of the martyrs.
With this in mind and regardless of the dangerous counsel of the hardliners and extremists that surround you, I urge you to please take note of the following: Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky, Colonel Sambo Dasuki and Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who are all political prisoners, must NOT die under mysterious circumstances whilst they are in your custody.
No matter what your advisers and those in your inner circle tell you if, God forbid, this were to happen the fall-out and consequences for your reputation and your administration would be too much to bear.
This brings me to another issue which is a cause for grave concern. Your stated resolve not to obey court orders and to deny Nigerians their right to bail after the courts have given it to them is not only an affront and gratuitous insult to the Judiciary but it is also a violation of the constitution.
I say this because, unlike military dictatorships, democracy enjoys and derives its power and legitimacy from the inviolable and sacred principle of ”separation of powers”.
What this means is that the Executive arm of Government, which by the grace of God you head today, is distinct and separate from the Legislature and the Judiciary.
As head of the Executive and President of the Federal Republic, you have absolutely no power or right to interfere in the processes of the Legislature (which is the National Assembly) or the Judiciary. Both have their own rules, regulations and leadership and the constitution guides them and guarantees them total and complete independence from you.
As a matter of fact they are charged by the laws of our land and the constitution to act as a check and balance on you as President and to ensure that you do not abuse your power or subject your people to tyranny.
Mr. President I watched you on your media chat the other day and I am constrained to tell you that you not only abused your power but that you also crossed the line with some of the things that you said. For example you have no right to tell the courts how to administer justice and who and who not to grant bail. Again you have no business to tell the legislature which laws to pass and how to run their affairs.
Again you have no right and neither do you have the power to pronounce any Nigerian citizen guilty of any crime unless and until a duly constituted court of law has done so. You cannot be the prosecutor, judge and jury in any criminal proceeding and this is especially so when you initiated those proceedings and you are the accuser.
To attempt to do so is not only unacceptable and irresponsible but it is also heartless and unkind. The fact that most of our senior and respected lawyers have refused to tell you this simply because they are scared of you or because they are looking for patronage from your government does not mean that what you are doing is lawful or acceptable. What you are doing is morally and legally reprehensible and it is unacceptable in any democratic and civilized society.
In the same vein you have no right to try to stop members of the opposition or the general public from criticizing you or condemning your obvious failings. Mr. President criticism, opposition and dissent are the lifeblood of democracy and without accommodating and tolerating them you cannot claim to be a democrat.
You have no right to attempt to cower or intimidate the fourth estate of the realm, which is the media, or attempt to pervert and corrupt the Nigerian public with daily doses of lies, falsehood, deceit and propaganda which is being duly and dutifully administered by your Minister of Information and your numerous media aides.
All these things give me and millions of your other subjects concern yet it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps the most disturbing example of your sheer insensitivity was your reaction to the question about Igbo marginalization during the media chat. In response to that question you asked “who is marginalizing who” and went further to ask “what do the Igbo want?”
Mr. President I wish to remind you that it is an incontrovertible fact that in just seven months your government has succeeded in marginalizing the Igbo more than any other Federal Government in living memory and certainly since the civil war.
This is a record that you ought not to be proud of. What the Igbo want is fairness, equal rights, equal representation, equity and respect. They also believe that they have the right to determine their own future and make their own choices.
Mr. President I do not believe that this is too much for them to ask given the fact that they have contributed, perhaps more than most, to national development and integration in the last forty five years?
It is not too much to ask given the fact that no less than three million of their people, including one million innocent children, were slaughtered during our civil war in the name of keeping Nigeria one?
I have no doubt that you will remember this very well Mr. President given the fact that you were one of those that prosecuted that war and fought in it.
You will also remember the brutal mass murder and the war crimes and crimes against humanity that were perpetrated against the unarmed and defenseless Igbo civilian population of Asaba in 1968 when over one thousand of them were rounded up, taken to the town square and shot to death for no just cause.
The soldiers that carried out that unspeakable act of cowardice, brutality and barbarity were under the command of your professional colleague, the late Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed. Mr. President that was a dark, shameful and ignoble chapter in our history which still cries out for justice and reparations.
Needless to say the pain of such horrendous events and numerous others that the Igbo have been subjected to by the Nigerian state and those that control it over the last fifty five years still haunts them.
The truth is that regardless of the obvious contempt that you have for them the Igbo will continue to insist on justice, fairness and on having their rights respected in our country.
If you refuse to address their numerous and legitimate grievances and you refuse to treat them with the understanding, sensitivity and compassion that they deserve, the agitation for self-determination, secession and the yearning for the establishment of a new nation called Biafra will wax stronger and stronger until it reaches dangerous and irresistible proportions.
That is what you are toying with Mr. President and if that were to happen be rest assured that the Yoruba would take a cue from it and so would the people of the Niger Delta. It would effectively signify the beginning of the balkanisation of Nigeria.
Whether you and those with your world view like to hear it or not, that is the bitter truth. May the Ancient of Days grant you the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to accept it and to do something about it. May the Lord of the Universe give you the foresight and the insight to appreciate the fact that Nigeria cannot survive a second civil war.
Mr. President I sincerely hope that you do not take offence at my admonitions and counsel. I speak only out of concern for the fortunes of your administration, your reputation and out of love for my country. God bless Nigeria.
PARIS, JANUARY 6, 2016: (DGW) It is no longer a subject of grammatical, political, legal and public debate whether or not Nigeria of Buhari’s civilian presidency is tyrannical-cum-dictatorial; as the country is fully back in a dictatorship or chained democracy. Nigerians should also not lose sleep or express surprises over recent or ongoing public antics and pro-dictatorial comments of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the likes of Prof Itse Sagay, SAN and Senator Ali Ndume, Senate Majority Leader; rather all Nigerians particularly the Nigerian Bar Association and other democratic forces should concern themselves sleeplessly with how to rise up endlessly against the resurrected dictatorship and its destructive forces.
It must be clearly understood by all Nigerians and members of the international community that most, if not all the political appointees under Buhari’s chained democratic government; both ministerial and non ministerial, were appointed for the purpose of promoting and protecting tyrannical policies and conducts of his administration. Apart from being beneficiaries of sectional lopsidedness and political settlements, the appointees were strictly scrutinized and tutored by the country’s secret police of Buhari’s armpit purse in the art of tyrannical policies and conducts. Most, if not all of them are also beneficiaries of Nigeria’s political woes of the recent past. In the country’s coercive establishments, blood thirsty senior officers and semi-cannibals were carefully selected and appointed into the headship of the country’s strategic security forces.
Totality of these is agents of tyranny or dictatorship. Other agents of tyranny working or sympathetic to the dictatorial government of Muhammadu Buhari can be found within the Nigerian Bar Association, the Southwest based Civil Society Organizations, the print, electronic and online media, mainly, if not mostly of Southwest section particularly those established with illicit or stolen public funds and owned by political profligates.
Our coordinating partner: Intersociety had severally argued expertly and seminally that the emergence of dictatorship or tyranny and its sustenance under a civilian administration, is not the sole activity of a dictator or tyrant; but a hatched conspiratorial project involving other dictatorial or tyrannical elements. It further observed that the first victims of dictatorship are the judiciary and the legislature, leading to instant death of rule of law, separation of powers and checks and balances.
According to Intersociety, where there are formidable and non conformist rights based CSOs and other members of the “attentive public” (media, religious bodies, occupational and professional bodies, etc); dictatorship meets its waterloo and irreparably nailed to coffin.
That is to say that the emergence of Buhari’s dictatorship in Nigeria has thrown up two forces of opposite direction; which can best be described as forces of change and forces of chains or forces of lightness and forces of darkness.The likes of AGF, Prof Sagay and Senator Ndume; by their dictatorial utterances, clearly represent the forces of darkness or deformity, while the upright CSOs and other democratic forces represent forces of lightness or change or reformism. It is also a case of thinkers versus tinkerers or reformers versus deformers or progressives versus retrogressives.
Further attestation to the existence of the two forces of opposite directionunder the Buhari’s dictatorial presidency is the recent launch of online signature project spearheaded by a risen constitutional lawyer and Georgetown University law scholar, Ms Carol Ajie; for the purpose ofcompelling President Muhammadu Buhari to obey court orders and other judicial consequential pronouncements or resign or be impeached.
This followed President Buhari’s blundered and incoherent maiden media chat of 30th December 2015. The online petition signing, which has since exceeded its target; was met with a counter online petition project, launched by Buhari’s laptop activists and funded by the Presidency. While Counsel Carol Ajie’s online petition targets at protecting and preserving rule of law, constitutionalism and human rights in Nigeria; the Buhari Presidency’s sponsored online petition targets at protecting and preserving rule of lawlessness, un-constitutionalism and gross disrespect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In other words, the former represents agents of change while the latter represents chain agents. Counsel Carol Ajie’s advocacy step is deeply commendable, exemplary and emulative.
It further gladdens our heart to note the recent public position taken by the national leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) against the Buhari’s recent justification to his disobedience to court orders in Nigeria particularly as it concerns the duo of Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki. Its insistence that court orders and judgments must be obeyed and enforced to the letter in Nigeria by all authorities and persons; is a welcome development. In Section 287 (1) (2) (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the decisions of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal High Courts, High Courts of State and FCT and other subordinate courts, shall be obeyed and enforced in any part of Nigeria by all authorities and persons including President Muhammadu Buhari and his AGF.
It is also extremely important to note that the engine house of the national interest is executive obedience to court orders and protection and preservation of the citizens’ constitutional liberties. Justification of executive disobedience to court orders as a protection of national interest is abominable and impeachable. It is also a deliberate ploy to bend the law and impeach the 1999 Constitution. Disobedience to court decisions is one of thedimensions of corruption and a gross abuse of office; contrary to Section 15 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. The AGF utterances under reference are worse than his principal’s blundered and incoherent media chat.
Protection of public interest can never be equated with obvious presidential threats to citizens’ sovereignty; enshrined and entrenched in Section 14 (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution; to the effect that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority. The inflammable and defenseless utterances of the AGF are therefore not surprising; which explains why English Language professors also hold that liars use passive voice while truth tellers use active voice.
As we speak, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has been detained by the DSS, on direct orders of President Buhari for a total of 83 days without substantive trial and bail release. All the four consequential court orders; ordering his unconditional release, among others, have been rapaciously flouted by President Buhari with impunity. In the alleged offenses of criminal conspiracy, among others brought against him by the DSS, he was unconstitutionally detained or held beyond constitutional deadline before being put on aborted trial. None of the three consequential orders granted by the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court was obeyed and he was never released on bail.
Even when the Magistrate Court re-ordered for his unconditional release following the abortion and discontinuation of his trial by the same DSS, he was never released. Again when the Federal High Court took notice of its erroneous and unconstitutional detention order granted to DSS and reversed itself and ordered that Citizen Kanu should be released unconditionally; President Buhari called and stopped the enforcement of the court order.
Till date, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu is not under any court remand in Nigeria and is presently held under President Buhari’s personal order. While Sections 293, 294 and 296 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act of 2015 forbid any authority or person other than Magistrate and High Court to detain any citizen beyond 24hrs or 48hrs without court remand for maximum of 28 days without trial; Section 35 (4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution further forbids detention of any citizen accused of committing offense of capital punishment (life jail or death sentence) for more than 60 days or two months without being released on bail or appropriately charged to court.
Till date, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has been held incommunicado for a total of 83 days without released on bail or unconditionally, not even for an hour. His last arraignment and preferring of phantom charges of treasonable felony and four lesser others on 23rd December 2015 was aborted following his refusal to take plea; citing Buhari’s defenseless disobedience to other court orders. Till date, he is in custody under no court remand with his case file seized and possibly being doctored by the office of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. These are grievous violations of the provisions of the Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution.
Following the Intersociety’s mocked advice to President Muhammadu Buhari to construct two maximum security prisons in each of the country’s 774 Local Government Areas; totaling 1,548 maximum security prisons and ensure that average of 5,000 Nigerians are arrested and detained monthly; we wish to add that it is about time the NBA shut and grounded court proceedings; by way of country-wide court boycotts until President Muhammadu Buhari obeys all the subsisting court orders and signs an undertaking not to disobey decisions of the court in Nigeria anymore. That is to say that condemnation of the Presidency of Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari by NBA for flouting court decisions in Nigeria is not good enough. More proactive steps such as country-wide court boycotts are urgently needed to put the dictatorial policies and conducts of his Presidency to adequate checks.
It is also about time the respected legal body disbarred and suspended indefinitely any lawyer including any member of the silk that supports the dictatorial policies and conducts of the Buhari administration. It is abominable for NBA to fold its hands and watch the sanctity and independence of the judiciary being presidentially soiled, tainted and undermined with some of its errant members playing a leading role. If decisions of courts are no longer subject to strict obedience and enforcement at all times in any part of Nigeria; then NBA and the judiciary as well as Nigeria’s constitutional democracy are irreparably doomed.
Finally, we wish to joyfully and warmly congratulate the wife of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu; Uchechi, Nnamdi-Kanu for her healthy and safe delivery of a baby boy.Unto the family of lion-hearted men, another lion is born! This is a major setback for the Presidency of Buhari and its dictatorial associates which had last week sponsored wicked media falsehood and propaganda, saying “Citizen Nnamdi Kanu was caught in a hotel hibernating with a young lady”. The sole malicious intent was to cause death-in-pregnancy of Uchechi Kanu and his nine months unborn child and in-captivity divorce in Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s blessed marriage. To God Be The Glory All The Time!!
For: Coalition of Southeast Based Human Rights Organizations (CSBHROs):
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi (+23474090052
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)
3. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
4. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC)
5. Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq.(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR)
6. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW)
7. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF)
8. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF)
9. Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY)
10. Evlyn Chinwe Eze, Esq. (+2347019646494)
For: Street Law Africa (LawAfrica)
11. Tochukwu Ezeoke (IEI) (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group)
Dear Femi Adesina,
SINCE I am a victim of association to one of the most vilified and scandalised Nigerians through media trial, this Open Letter is the best opportunity for me to put some issues in proper perspective following some of your public remarks about your old friend.
As you are aware, I have been actively involved in cementing relationship between the media and security agencies in the recent past.
Immediately after my premature retirement from the public service by the Jonathan administration, I was invited by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retired), to help in changing the negative media narrative on Nigeria’s counter-terrorism campaigns. It was at a period when the Boko Haram was having the upper hand in the propaganda campaign of the war against Nigeria with a section of the foreign media castigating Nigerian troops as “cowardly” “undisciplined” and “ill-trained.”
Among other things, I have the responsibility of consulting for the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), then Chaired by Major General Chris Olukolade, which has membership from critical public institutions including the military, security, intelligence and response agencies. We also created and sustained web portals for providing accurate and timely information to the public.
I must commend Mr. Femi Adesina for playing greater roles on the success of our campaign because as the President of Nigerian Guild of Editors, you also encouraged Editors to support our activities through occasional self-censorship to manage negative terrorists’ propaganda.
Being one of the closest Editors to former National Security Adviser, you were always sincere and frank when you met and discussed with Dasuki. You never hid your hardened support for the candidacy of General Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC). I remember your annoyance over security clampdown on the media and when you sought Dasuki’s intervention for compensation for media organisations over their loss rather than engaging in prolonged court cases. I was with you on that occasion in his office.
Apart from interfacing between FOSSRA and media representatives at different levels and locations, which you encouraged, Sambo Dasuki too, as National Security Adviser occasionally hosted Media Debriefing sessions where sensitive information was disseminated with supported photos and video clips. Many of such sessions were classified, not for publication, where atrocities of terrorists; the gallantry of the Nigerian troops and sophisticated equipment deployed for counter-terrorism operations were disclosed or shown.
I am glad that not only were you adequately informed of those success stories of Jonathan administration’s war on terror, you even took the pain to pen an opinion article eulogising Dasuki for keeping to his promise of clearing all known terrorists’ camps before the handover to the new government.
As a respected columnist, your article of May 1, 2015 on the back page of the Daily Sun with the title “A little Late But Not too Late,” clearly exonerates Dasuki from some allegations and also reveals some concrete facts of achievements that were not being reported in the media.
It is therefore, baffling that the same Femi Adesina, could brazenly contradict himself shortly after gaining public office in his official statements.
Some of us who know your cordial relationship with Dasuki and information at your disposal are indeed baffled by your dramatic turn-around in so short a time.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to point out that not all funds in ONSA are meant for arms procurement. As you are aware, under its Special Service Office (SSO), funds are expended on training, espionage, communication, special interventions for special causes including NGOs. One of the successful programmes under ONSA is Soft-Approach to countering terrorism, of which deradicalization without the use of force through economic empowerment, education, communication, rehabilitation and counselling were part. The Presidential Initiative on North-East (PINE) was conceived from the Soft Approach.
As a media consultant who has distributed over 1000 releases on behalf of the military and security agencies, I can state the following as a fact from official documents and releases:
On August 6, 2015, through PRNigeria, Dasuki named and provided pictures of sophisticated weapons bought for the military, which included: “Alpha jets, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) APCs, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, advanced artillery pieces, assorted arms and ammunitions, highly sophisticated surveillance drones, T72 Battle Tanks and modification of F7 supersonic jet fighters.” Even in his official response to your statement against him on November 18, 2015, Dasuki mentioned official acknowledgements of delivery of some of the equipment by the security chiefs.
It is therefore laughable when critics claim that no weapons were purchased when a video from Boko Haram leader Shekau displayed captured sophisticated weapons after alleged mutinous soldiers fled Baga
At the twilight of Jonathan’s administration more than 22 towns in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states were recovered and confirmed with video and pictorial evidences through military press releases. Some of the towns recovered before the coming of President Buhari included: Abadam, Askira, Baga, Bama, Biu, Buni Yadi, Damboa, Goniri, Gujba, Gulani, Gwoza, Hong, Konduga, Kukawa, Marte, Madagali, Michika, Monguno, Mubi, and others. A clear testimony to some of the accomplishments was the official DHQ release dated March 16, 2015 with reference No: DHQ/ABJ/901/32/DDI and a title: “Troops Finally Rout Terrorists from Bama and Last Stronghold in Yobe.”
Even though when you confirmed in the same article while you were still a columnist that “Sambisa Forest is falling” it was actually stormed by Nigerian troops where about 300 kidnapped women and children were rescued with video evidence before the emergence of the current administration.
In an attempt to indict Sambo Dasuki, some media leak unethically expose expenditures of sensitive agencies like National Intelligence Agency, Department of State Service and others to public ridicules. This is unfair. It was for sensitive nature of issues that we guarded the recruitment of Special M Forces to help in the air while Nigerian troops recaptured the ground. Some would rather call our technical Advisers as South-African mercenaries. Even when Nigeria financially supported some neigbouring countries to participate in the Multi-National Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) it was deliberately done because they were initially reluctant as foreign powers were not helping Nigerian troops.
Since Dasuki and others are now being arraigned in court, rather than the continued media trial and planned secret trials, let the trial commence in open court to enable prosecutors and accusers present their arguments to remove facts from fictions and reality from illusions.
Sir, as you know that I have tremendous respect for you, I strongly urge you to use your good office to protect the integrity of critical institutions like security and the media from public ridicule as some patriotic officers, media organisations, and publishers are already being indicted without fair trial in the court of law.
While I vouch for your professional integrity, you know for a fact that Dasuki is kind and obediently loyal in and out of office. You know that for sure, Mr. Femi.
As we end 2015, I pray the year 2016 will not be one of media circus but one in which the rule of law will determine official actions and suspects of all kinds will have their rights under the constitution respected. This is my last article on this issue and I do this with the best of intention to protect our institutions.
*Mr Shuaib is an Abuja-based public commentator on current affairs