The confessional of Sambo Dasuki and his gang has proved that their plunder of the monies earmarked for arming Nigerian troops against Boko Haram, the most deadly terror group in the world, caused the slaughter of 20,000 Nigerians. But the Nigerian media flinches from calling the crime by its earned name: Crime against humanity!
The media skits the human cost of the $ 2.1 billion arms scam. They edit out the copious human blood dripping from the figure. They whitewash the crime against humanity –so much so that their blinkered fixation on the outrage seems intended to whip up the hysterical mourning of lost lucre!
This depersonalized, reductionist rendition that echoes in the wall-to-wall coverage of the scandal has already registered a devastating effect. It has hypnotized the bereaved people of Nigeria into adapting their perspective to the atrocious lie that the human family was visited with a mere fiscal raid. The public money stolen is everything and the human souls stolen is nothing!
The newshounds, delighted to be gifted an endless saga that diverges into uncountable tracks, has been running in all directions, following the money and the exclusive democratization of its sharing. They storify the multitude of intercourses of the implicated Dasuki contacts under the consensus moniker, ‘’Dasukigate.’’
”Dasukgate” is an allusion to the metaphor of America’s Watergate. It purports to equate a thoroughgoing war crime with the misdemeanor of a one-time American president tapping of the telephone lines of his political rivals.
Of course, the comparison of a tragedy that consumed human beings and a privacy trespass that inflicted no physical harm on anybody is hopelessly inappropriate. As for as cost and consequence go, a war crime and a nosy snooping are so wide apart that it must have taken strange associative powers to link them.
20, 000 human bodies will sooner crash any scale before the Nixonian offense records a feather weight!
To emphasize the point: One is a humanitarian disaster. The loss of thousands of human lives. The filling of mass graves. The other is a flirtation with audio voyeurism. An exercise in telephonic eavesdropping. A quest for omnipresent hearing.
Nixon did not cause the fall of a strand of human hair to the ground: Dasuki and his gang murdered 20,000 human beings!
And so, there was absolutely no need for the Nigerian media to conquer space (go halfway around the world) and time (go almost half a century backwards in history) to borrow an ill-fitting, exotic ‘’gate’’ to define the fresh tragedy in our own very backyard!
Were we –if one may question the gratuitous importation –displaying our lack of a sense of proportion? We were counting the killing of 20,000 of our citizens as light as wiretapping? We were equating 20,000 Nigerian lives to some telephone wires?
Or, we were trying to dilute our ownership of the mess? Were we trying to exculpate ourselves by Americanizing it? Were we trying to brand it away, even though it was uniquely ours, and impossible to obtain in the States or any decent human society anywhere?
But the media can only be faulted for naively latching onto the viewpoint of President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari welcomes the opportunity to make the Dasuki gang an example of ‘’the fight against corruption’’. Buhari had long decided that the index of his performance would be the number of treasury looters his administration disgraces and divests. And he has unleashed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to hunt and haunt them.
The problem is that Buhari’s ‘body language’ conclusively suggests that if the looters vomit their spoils, our national rage would be doused. We would be appeased. And we would forgive and forget!
This posture is dangerous –for one reason.
In treating this particular fraud less as the stealing of 20,000 Nigerian lives than the stealing of $2.1 billion, Nigeria stoops to the avarice of the war criminals. We affirm that we are a society that places a higher premium on money than human lives. We declare that we permit the commodification of Nigerian lives… as far as we are eventually bribed with part of the gains!
A country that doesn’t aspire to extinction should not project itself as one whose citizens are worth some amount of money.
Dasuki and his friends pocketed quite a sum that must be recovered. But to focus on the money to the exclusion of the more important wastage of human beings they perpetrated, is to give expression to the selfsame Faustian mindset that made Dasuki and his gang war criminals.
And this is why I agree with ‘High Chief’ Raymond Dokpesi, the newly crowned ‘FREEDOM FIGHTER OF PDP’, that ‘’Dasukigate’’ is a hoax. Dokpesi says Buhari conjured up a fictitious ‘’Dasukigate’’ as a pretext to witch-hunt prominent members of opposition Peoples Democratic Party. I agree with Dokpesi that ‘’Dasukigate’’ is the figment of the fantasy of the inventors.
I believe Dokpesi’s proposition for a reason different from his self-serving claim that he and other beneficiaries of the blood money were being persecuted. I believe in the truthiness of the non-existence of ‘’Dasukigate’’ only to the extent that the much touted ‘’Dasukigate’’ is a misbegotten, conceptual nullity.
Nothing like ‘’Dasukigate’’ exists. What stares in the face is crime against humanity. And it is grave revisionism to trivialize that by appending a ‘’gate’’ suffix to the name of the presumed chief villain.
Dokpesi, like other persons namechecked in the subplots of the blood-drenched arms fraud, is not mortified by his involvement in the killing of 20,000 human beings. He is not chastened. He is, instead, inviting the public to pity him for losing his putative right to enjoy his blood money…in peace!
Apart from two newspapers who have had to return their respective shares of the blood money –a pragmatic business move to bleach out the blood stain on their mastheads and avert predictable loss of readership– other private individuals of the Dasuki gang are not sorry. Not one of them has so much as acknowledged that the blood money he received and trafficked in left blood on his hands. Not one of them has shown contrition- or advanced a terse apology as a posthumous regard to the casualties!
Rather than take a step towards penance, we see the self-conscious and smug folks adamantly defending their complicity. We hear them plead that the money they received was neither dyed in blood nor foul smelling. The money looked clean and crisp. And they spent the money as directed by the immediate courier.
Olabode George. Jim Nwobodo. Anthony Anenih. Rashid Ladoja. Olu Falae. Tanko Yakassi. They say they are all innocent: Blood guilt lies with the higher source–Dasuki or the Oga-at-the-top, President Jonathan.
Olabode George was convicted for contract fraud in 2009. Jim Nwobodo was jailed for 120 years jail for salting away $5.1 million public money in 1984. Anthony ‘Mr Fix-It’ Anenih, as President Obasanjo’s Minister of Works, fixed 300 billion naira and not Nigerian roads. They all have a screaming track record!
Only the reactions of Olu Fale and Tanko Yakasai have shocked me.
Falae, former Minister of Finance, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former Presidential nominee, few months back, backed calls for the South West to secede from Nigeria because he had been subjected to the humiliation of being kidnapped!
This Falae, 77, confronted with evidence he had collected 100 million naira blood money, was adamantly unapologetic. He said, ‘’with all the money PDP has and having spent 16 years in power, how would I know that the money was from arms deal? …they should not bring me into the arms issue’’.
Pa Yakasai is a more pitiable disappointment.
The wizened 90 year old is not embarrassed to be making headlines for collecting 53 million naira blood money. He doesn’t regret that – very close to a century and to the edge of his grave –his life story has acquired a footnote that will tarnish his name. He says he is proud to have spent the blood money touring the royal palaces of the North with his nine friends!
These folks are stronger than Judas. Judas returned the 30 pieces of silver blood money he made by betraying his master and committed suicide. These folks have sworn to keep millions of their blood money and spend it!
Their bluster might be a scrambled cry from a conscience under flagellation. An exterior protest against the torment of guilt. A stoic denial of the pain of remorse they are too proud to concede.
But I cast my hope beyond the Nigerian judiciary. The weak case against them, stealing paper money, will languish in our characteristically sluggish judicial system. And the public’s interest in this scam will wane.
My faith is in the moral arc of the universe. It is long. But it bends towards justice.
If a Shakespearian rose smells as sweet no matter the false name it is labeled, a war crime should reek abundantly odious as to be requited.
Nature will reward this attack on creation. Nature will reward this crime against humanity. Nature will reward those who aided and abetted the extermination of 20,000 human beings!
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu