Unfortunately, the Buhari era is likely going to be defined by Abubakar Malami, his Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Malami’s disregard for rule of law, disdain for public opinion and unrestrained use of power to prove that some Nigerians no matter how criminally minded are ‘untouchables’ are some of the reasons why many Nigerians including Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State now wonder if Buhari, who won a pan-Nigeria mandate twice is Nigerian or Fulani president.
Malami shares the same mindset with Fulani supremacist group like Miyetti Allah that often take responsibility for some of the heinous crimes committed by herdsmen across the nation, Bauchi governor, Bala Mohammmed who arrogantly ask Nigerian ethnic nationalities to come to terms that immigrant Fulani herdsmen from any part of Africa are Nigerians and, Sheikh Gumi who freely move around bandits camps our police and military claim are invincible only to advise government to pay salaries and grant amnesty to terrorists that engage in mindless killings of innocent Nigerians and trading in kidnapping of northern school children for ransom.
And rather than prove his critics wrong, Malami has by his controversial selective sting-operations continued to give the impression that some Nigerians including indicted criminals, are superior to other Nigerians as long as they belong to the favoured ethnic group.
Let us start with his November 2017 sting-operation which he personally executed. He had arranged a secret meeting through an unnamed third party with Abdulrasheed Maina, a fugitive offender in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE). Not long after, Maina was reabsorbed into the civil service. Both the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Winifred Eyo-Ita and the acting chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Joseph Oluremi cited the AGF letter as the authority for Maina’s reinstatement.
Following public outcry, Malami told the Aliyu Madaki-led House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigative hearing on “the disappearance, reinstatement and promotion of Maina” that “pension fraud was beyond Maina” while admitting however that “Maina was part of a syndicate that cuts across all sectors, including serving and retired public officers, members of the National Assembly, involved in cornering N3.7b monthly from pension funds”. He also spoke of “over 116,000 ghost workers responsible for N829m monthly spread across 29 bank accounts”.
Malami abused his office to prove Maina who currently undergoing trial for the theft of about N2b pension fund was “untouchable’.
Before this, was Malami’s October 7 and 8, 2016 sting-operation. Following DSS midnight assault on residents of Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court; Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja were all arrested. Others equally arrested include Justice I. A. Umezulike, former Chief Judge of Enugu State and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.
The sting operation was condemned as an assault on the independence of the Nigerian judiciary by Justice Mohammed, the than CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The outcome of another sting operation by Malami was the invasion of the National Assembly by hooded DSS men to prevent adversarial senators and members of the lower house from gaining access into the legislative building. Malami, the all-powerful attorney general, ordered the sting operation without informing an embarrassed acting president, Yemi Osinbajo who in August 2018 ordered the termination of the appointment of ‘untouchable’ Lawal Daura the Director General of State Services (DSS)
Malami deployed a lot of resources to the sting operation that finally caged leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, who was allegedly captured and shipped to Nigeria in a chartered private jet. Kanu’s sins, according to Malami, borders on subversive activities that include “inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian state and institutions “. Others accusations include: “instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para-military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”
Kanu’s arrest was swiftly followed by another Malami master-minded sting-operation that resulted in DSS’ midnight invasion of the residence of the Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho. The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, told Nigerians that “Sunday Igboho and his group, in the guise of campaign for self-determination, have become well-armed and determined to undermine public order.” To justify their action, we were told their haul of weapons include “seven AK-47 assault rifles, 30 fully charged AK-47 magazines and 5,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition some magic voodoo garments” .
It is not difficult to understand why Malami deployed so much resources to capture Kanu who has not committed half of the atrocities that herdsmen and their sponsors walking freely around Nigeria committed. Kanu like Igboho does not belong to the tribe of the ‘untouchables’.
However, I believe Kanu needed to be caged because he has become a threat to the millions of his Igbo urban immigrants across Nigeria who like the Jews often attract envy from their host communities because of their success in trade and commerce.
Kanu who was merely exploiting the ignorance of Igbo youths appears incapable of grasping the implication of governor Nasir E- Rufai claim that “Igbo occupy more landed area in the north than all the their five eastern states put together”. He was probably too ill-equipped to reflect on Senator Abaribe’s warning to Biafra agitators that “Igbo control property market in Abuja and Lagos, have the monopoly for importation of second-hand clothes as well as the electronics and ceramics markets”. Abaribe did not add that the Igbo political and economic elite capitalized on Babangida and Obasanjo’s disastrous economic policies that killed our budding textile, electronic, pharmaceutical, battery and tyres industries to bring the nation to her kneels through unregulated importation of sometimes substandard variant of these products.
The arrest of Sunday Igboho was also a welcome development. Of course, the Yorubas are angry. They feel betrayed by Buhari’s mismanagement of our crisis of nation building. But Igboho cannot speak for the Yoruba especially after our political and moral leaders have clearly stated Yoruba’s position. Prof Banji Akintoye and pa Ayo Adebanjo, two of Buhari’s foremost critics have said their intervention was to prevent Buhari from destroying our country. Obasanjo, the master mischief-maker has also said his crusade against Buhari’s government was to prevent the Rwanda option to our crisis of nation building.
Above all, Malami’s sting operation has vindicated our leaders’ position. With Sheik Gumi and Bauchi governor lionizing foreign armed gangs in Yoruba’s reserved forests, Igboho cannot lead Yoruba to war with DSS ‘haul’ of seven Ak-47 riffles, the ownership of which he even denied and some voodoo magic garments that are now in custody of DSS security operatives.
But no one is deceived by Malami latest sting-operations which were nothing but attack on symptoms while he and his group continue to live in denial by opposing peaceful resolution of our national question, devolution of power, fiscal federalism, state and community policing. Workable federal arrangement is the only social system that can liberate groups and individuals from the tyranny of the state. Our problem is the dysfunctional suffocating centralized system that insists on controlling our lives, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the education of our children.