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Thirty trillion reasons why Buhari must be probed, by Dele Sobowale

Thirty trillion reasons why Buhari must be probed, by Dele Sobowale

“The total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government” – Section 38 (2) of the CBN Act.

Every Nigerian now knows that the Buhari government obtained N30 trillion under Ways and Means, W&M, from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in eight years. Every naira represented pre-meditated economic sabotage; particularly when the transactions were undertaken without prior approval of the National Assembly, NASS, as required by another Section of the CBN Act.

Furthermore, we are now aware that there is no record of how the funds illegally collected were spent; and who were the recipients – again as required by law. Buhari and his co-conspirators were not only brazen, the former President is still not remorseful about actions bordering on treason committed under his watch. During a recent book launch, he actually said his government acted with transparency and accountability. That was despite the fact that the NASS was only aware of N23.7 trillion overdrawn from the CBN in a letter he wrote to them in January 2023.

READ ALSO: Forensic expert confirms Buhari’s signature forged to move $6.2m from CBN

Records now available have revealed that the infractions started from 2017 when his government was allowed to collect N1.1 trillion in W&M, against N2.95 billion revenue for 2016. What he collected in 2017 represented 37.2 per cent of the previous year’s revenue instead of the 5 per cent allowed by law. The truth was deliberately concealed by the FG, CBN and the Ministry of Finance from NASS and from the Nigerian people.

Obviously, his statement was deliberate and colossal lie – unbecoming of a former President.

Despite his poor education, it is difficult to understand how a President, who colluded with others for seven years to cover-up gross misdeeds, can stand in front of an audience and claim transparency and accountability long after he had revealed only part of the truth.

READ ALSO: Witness reveals how Buhari, Emefiele, Gambari approved $6.2m for international election observers

We now know that N30 trillion was illegally carted out of the CBN under cover of darkness; we also know that Buhari has ruined the efforts of his next four successors by asking a complaisant Senate, headed by Senate President Lawan, to convert all the funds to 40-year bond, with three years moratorium.

What all that means is this: The present generation of Nigerians and the next will be forced to pay for funds, literally stolen, from the CBN, without having an idea what we are paying for and why?

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

“A judge [or President] who cannot punish willful criminals, in the end, associates themselves with the criminals” – Goethe

Tinubu, a judge now, has not spoken about what his government intends to do about these unprecedented atrocities. Irrespective of his feelings as a founding father of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the fact that he admittedly brought Buhari out of voluntary retirement, bank-rolled his successful bid for President and, therefore, shares responsibility for the disaster confronting Nigerians at the moment, he cannot shirk from punishing a serial, lawless and remorseless former President – who lacks the decency to apologise after the truth has blown up in his face. Just in case ethnic jingoists and other die-hard Buhari supporters think the indictment is too harsh, below is the evidence.

READ ALSO: Foul stench of Buhari’s corruption and Betta Edu

Clearly, we are not dealing with a President and co-conspirators, who deviated just once and inadvertently from the five per cent legal limit. What we have on our hands is Executive lawlessness beyond comparison with anything this nation has ever experienced. Buhari and Co have proved, once again, that appetite indeed grows with eating. Each year’s larceny emboldened them to commit more transgressions with impunity.

Readers who must be wondering about what happened to the former Buhari we all regarded most highly only need to remember that the acid test of honesty is money; of integrity is power. Buhari, in 2015, had both in his grasp because millions of us trusted him. There is evidence beyond reasonable doubt that we were mistaken. Just look at the table; and ask yourself if a person with a reputation to protect, and anxious to do so, could have done that to his country. He drove the Nigerian economy into a ditch from which we might not get out for 20 years.

Unless Tinubu is tired of his job, the first priority of his government is to stop chasing bush rats when buffaloes and other big games are waiting to be brought down. Certainly, N30 trillion has not vanished into thin air. A great percentage of it might still be traced in Nigeria and abroad. Without wasting too much time, Tinubu should address the nation, proclaim a state of economic emergency and round up all those involved in the heist of N30 trillion.

READ ALSO: Report fingers Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Finance Minister in N17.3 trillion lost fund

Court orders should be obtained to seize all their assets – including homes until they are ready to vomit as much as possible of what they illegally took from the nation’s treasury. And, since the Buhari administration has proved, once again, that fish rots from the head, the man who was at the head of it all cannot expect to sit in comfort at Daura while Nigerians suffer. It will amount to injustice of the worst kind.

To be quite candid, Buhari treated and still treats the entire country with disdain. Otherwise, how does one explain a situation in which he belatedly sent a letter to the NASS asking that money already spent, without prior approval be converted to a long term loan – WITHOUT DETAILS!!! This is bold-faced criminality without remorse. The only plausible explanation would shock Nigerians to the marrows. It is quite possible that there are no details; no records. Designated people apparently just drove to CBN in the middle of the night, waved bogus documents, and loaded trucks with newly-minted cash.

WAS EMEFIELE BLACKMAILED OR THREATENED?

“Russia is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma” – Sir Winston Churchill, November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965

Of all the culprits, Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor, will remain, like Russia, the most baffling. We met once in 2019 and that was when his re-appointment was still in doubt. Before then, he had struck me as a great achiever as CBN Governor. Working with an FG headed by an economic illiterate and Ministers of Finance, just a little bit better than the boss, Emefiele was called upon to handle all of monetary policy as well as a great deal of fiscal policy management. No previous CBN Governor ever enjoyed such powers – it was almost absolute. But, we all know what absolute power does to humans. Our meeting lasted approximately one hour. My questions focused on professionalism, how he was handling the inherent problems involved in managing both monetary and fiscal policies; and the ethical dilemma involved in that situation. His answers were convincing. But, we now know that there was no hint of W&M violations.

READ ALSO: MacArthur Foundation and nation building in Nigeria? By Adagbo Onoja

Now that the truth is out, Emefiele has the most difficult defence. Although, ignorance has never been an acceptable plea where grand larceny repeated committed is concerned, Buhari can still try it by pointing to his poor education.

Emefiele cannot pretend not to know the meaning of Section 38 (2) of the CBN Act. For that matter, none of the Deputy Governors from 2017 to 2023 should escape prosecution for this gross and planned violation of a basic regulation. What puzzles me is this: Was Emefiele blackmailed or threatened to go along with the greatest scam in CBN history?

To be continued…

Culled from Vanguard

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