Wonders shall never end in this country.
So this last week, President Muhammadu Buhari received the interim report of the presidential committee investigating the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence Sector since 2007.
A committee that he set up by himself and one which, in the ways natural to men and more especially as we have had in this country , may have been working from an answer to the question.
All that notwithstanding President Buhari in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina ordered the arrest of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) Col Sambo Dasuki(rtd ) and some other yet to be named people who may have been found culpable of malfeasances in the interim report.
Now, recall that this is a panel that the president set up and this is an interim report, yet the president ordered the arrest of people. I am still confused as to the legality of the report of a presidential committee, which is not the investigation of any of Nigeria’s prosecuting agencies, resulting in the arrests of alleged culprits. I still do not understand how the president would appropriate the position of the Inspector General of Police or that of the Director General of the Department of Secret Services to order the arrest of people who have been alleged to commit crimes against the nation.
I am still trying to find justification for these series of occurrences and nothing has made as much sense as to imagine that the government was just so desperate to make it impossible for Dasuki to benefit from the order of the Federal High Court that he should be allowed to travel for medical check up.
I guess that is one thing that governments, even in the most democratic of nations occasionally find themselves doing, but most heads of government are respectful of the citizenry enough as to maintain a level of deniability by not allowing their hands to be seen in this manifest act against the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, an order which the government has not appealed. But not the Nigerian leader, the people can hit their heads on the wall as far as our leaders are concerned.
I have heard arguments that allowing Dasuki travel may give him an opportunity to flee prosecution. That sounds plausible but shouldn’t a government which wants to lead by the rule of law have gone to court to challenge the order for the release of the former NSA’s passport or even just charge him to court for the new charges they claim to have against him? This Dasuki saga oozes no fragrance other than that of an arrest-led investigation rather than an investigation led arrest contrary to the advice recently given to prosecuting agencies by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Mahmud Muhammed.
Do I care about Sambo Dasuki? Hell no. I, like tens of millions of other Nigerians will no doubt support the trial of anyone who is found to have shortchanged Nigeria and in this case, contributed to the avoidable deaths of Nigerians but these trials must follow the due process of the law. We cannot continue in the tradition of media trials at this stage of our democratic growth.
I am worried that the President gives the impression of a personal interest in the matter at hand. I care that the media exchange between the presidency and Dasuki in the past week detracts from the eminence and excellency of that office. I think that the order of arrest by the President was exuberant and unnecessary and that PMB must take himself out of such issues.
Perhaps the determination of PMB to rid Nigeria of corruption is taking the better of the need for him to remember his promise to be a true democrat.
He must also realise that it is not possible for him to fight a one man war against corruption.