Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Nigerian Presidency As A Foster Parent Of Crimes By Pius Adesanmi

Those who are confounded or surprised that the
stash of cash found in Ikoyi – we have at least,
hopefully, gone beyond the point of denying that
cash was found – is now gradually snaking its way
from the realms of crime and corruption to the less
seedy atmosphere of a legitimate stash owned by the National Intelligence Agency. BY PIUS ADESANMI
APR 15, 2017 Those who are confounded or surprised that the stash of cash found in Ikoyi – we have at least,
hopefully, gone beyond the point of denying that
cash was found – is now gradually snaking its way
from the realms of crime and corruption to the less
seedy atmosphere of a legitimate stash owned by
the National Intelligence Agency. Once that cover of legitimacy and purpose is
given to the stash, a certain mission is
accomplished and I will return to that mission
presently. All that is left is a little bit more of
national whining – NIA was a bit careless in
handling her money, EFCC, as usual, was not up to par, and the Lagos State Government tori
Olorun! You don’t know who owns properties and
flats within the properties. No records? No taxes?
Even Oba Ado, who ruled Lagos from 1630 – 1669
as the first Oba of Lagos, kept better records. But,
thank Godsha , the money is legit. No crime was really committed. Just incompetence by NIA,
EFCC, Lagos State Government, etc. Those who are surprised that things appear to be
moving along these lines ignore the long history of
the Nigerian state – embodied by the Presidency –
in serving as the foster parent of high crimes
committed by Nigerians who operate above the
state, above the constitution, above all mechanisms and apparatuses of the Nigerian state- Generals,
powerful political dynasties, powerful economic
dynasties, old money, etc. Once in a while, some
new money is allowed into this hallowed circle of
the owners of Nigeria. Some very powerful
prosperity Pentecostal mega-Pastors are also members of the club. There is no high stakes, global-level crime in
Nigeria that occurs beyond the orbit of this
powerful confederacy of illicit interests. Yet, they
must not be touched for they are sacred cows. A
Nigerian president serves at their pleasure, holds
the Presidency in trust for them. It is in this sense that the Nigerian state has
repeatedly had to serve as a foster parent of high
stakes crimes for much of our post-colonial
history, providing cover, providing rationalization,
providing a coherent narrative for such crimes,
and, where necessary, providing prosecutable fall guys who face heavily mediatized trials. Forget the Ikoyi billions for a while and come
down memory lane with me. Nothing much. Just
recent memory. In 2004, Nigeria recorded another first in her long
history of high-stakes criminality when two mega
oil tankers, MT African Pride and MT Jimoh,
vanished into thin air after having been arrested
for oil bunkering by the Nigerian authorities. Yes,
two oil tankers, containing millions of barrels of crude oil just simply vanished in broad daylight
from Nigerian custody. The international embarrassment was great for
Nigeria. How can two mega oil tankers just
vanish? Eventuallysha , they found MT Jimoh. Eventuallysha , some naval officers (fall guys) faced a court martial and were dismissed from the
Navy. Had my five-year-old daughter followed this story,
even she would have understood that the crime
we are talking about was way beyond the pay
grade of the naval officers arrested and convicted
by the Nigerian state. She would have understood
that the Nigerian state – the Presidency – became the foster parent of that crime to protect very
powerful people – the sacred cows in the
confederacy of illicit interests. The Nigerian state
provided a cover, a coherent narrative for an
extensive crime. Some naval officers were arrested,
tried, a jailed. End. Of. Story. Siemens and Halliburton are other examples of
high stakes crimes in the foster care of the Nigerian
presidency. All the individuals involved are
Generals and old money – members
plenipotentiary of the confederacy of illicit interests
in charge of Nigeria, hence their crimes must be owned and given cover by the Nigerian
Presidency. Malabu, the latest entrant into the firmament of
high stakes crimes, boasts Don Fortunato as
protagonist, just as Siemens and Halliburton
boasted Obasanjo, Abdulsalam Abubakar, and
other Generals as protagonists. There were threats of trials and rumbles of
prosecution for Siemens and Halliburton but only
the unwary did not know that the Nigerian
Presidency was on its way to adopting the two
crimes into its foster care. There are threats of trials
and rumbles of prosecution for Malabu but Don Fortunato is also a member of the family – the
confederacy of illicit interests. In time, Malabu will
disappear into the archives of crimes owned by
the Nigerian state to protect individuals. A jet was caught ferrying illicit cash to South
Africa. The narrative involved a jet owned or
leased by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, de facto Pastor-
General of the Federation and spiritual leader of
the Nigerian President at the time. The Nigerian
state moved in to own that crime as its foster parent. Even more intriguing and less known to the public
was the high-level involvement of the Nigerian
state in protecting Pastor T.B. Joshua by literally
owning and foster parenting his crime. Pastor T.B. Joshua violated extant building codes
in Lagos state, his building collapsed, making him
criminally responsible for the deaths of hundreds
of people, especially South Africans. The South
African state went into shock. It was the largest
loss of South African lives outside of South Africa in their history. Anger gave way to a determination by the South
African state to go after T.B. Joshua. First, the
South African media wanted to send investigation
teams to Lagos. Suddenly and somehow, South
African journalists couldn’t obtain visas to Nigeria.
Abuja had given the message to its mission in South Africa: we don’t want SA journalists to
come and disturb Pastor. Then came high-media public visits by President
Jonathan and Governor Raji Falola to T.B. Joshua.
Nigerians saw condolence visits on TV but that was
not what was going on. What was going on was a
clear message to the South Africans: we got this
one. We got the Pastor’s back. He is one of ours. Back off! Till date, T.B. Joshua has never answered for his
crime. The Government of Lagos state made some
noise about building codes and there were rumors
and rumbles of trial and prosecution before that
episode settled into the archives of crimes owned
by the Nigerian state as a foster parent. Enter the Ikoyi billions and the same pattern is
emerging. I am writing this piece so that President
Buhari will not be deceived by his supporters and
praise singers that any Nigerian is prepared to buy
the silly story that the Ikoyi billions belong to NIA.
I would not even insult my five-year-old daughter with such a stupid narrative. This is a familiar
pattern by which yet another high-stakes crime
will be owned and normalized by the Nigerian
state. It would be a shame if President Buhari allows this
to happen on his watch. It would be yet another
nail in the coffin of his mortally wounded anti-
corruption war, another tear in the tattered rags of
change. My own suspicion is that the Ikoyi funds
are owned by individuals and interests spanning PDP and APC, Christians and Muslims, and a
multiplicity of ethnicities. For when members of the confederacy of illicit
interests who own Nigeria commit crimes at this
level, they go by a scrupulous respect for Federal
character as we witnessed in the spread of Dasuki’s
largesse. Among them, there is no APC, no PDP, no
Christians, no Muslims, no Hausa, Yoruba, and
Igbo. Only a national cake on the table. It is only
among their mostly diseducated followers that you
find such divisions. The only reason that the identities of the owners of
the Ikoyi billion cannot be revealed and an
institution of the Nigerian state – NIA – must be
given marching orders to own the crime is that
there is unity of purpose in the confederacy of
illicit interests. They are always wiser than their followers. The long search continues for the President who
will discontinue the role of the Nigerian Presidency
as a foster parent of crimes. Professor Pius Adesanmi

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