I have searched without any luck for an exact location and precise date in every news report on the jewelries and customized gold iPhone allegedly belonging to former minister of petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government.
That will answer a lot of questions. Going by the Buhari administration’s reluctance to extradite her to face charges and the failure of the UK government to also do so after it had promised, the Diezani situation is one that needs to be observed very closely. Without a date those items were recovered and a precise location, then those jewelries could have been planted by none other than Diezani herself in conjunction with the authorities.
A specific date and location would have answered questions as to the time government had those items in its possession and whether it was from a house it had already cordoned off at that time or not viz-a-viz the likelihood of her running off to the UK without making any attempt to hide items worth over £40M.
In September 2017, Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC chairman said there were ongoing plans to extradite Diezani back to Nigeria to face charges since the UK had failed to prosecute her. More than a year later in 2018, he said the very same thing-there were on-going plans to extradite her.
Now in 2019, instead of giving us that same line, their handlers got smart and fashioned out a way to score some PR points for the government while at the hide and seek game by parading luxurious items and tagging them hers. Government need not spend a dime procuring those things,the woman herself will get it if it’ll keep her out of prison.
Diezani was said to have found a way to be on the same flight with then President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari to London. The media reports then were to the effect that she had approached him to discuss a soft landing but her advances were rebuffed. Maybe some way some how she was able to manage that either personally or through proxies otherwise there is no way else to rationalize the lukewarm attitude of both the UK and Nigerian government to prosecuting her.
When the woman herself insisted on coming back home to face trial, the authorities said she wanted to escape an imminent trial in the UK for money laundering offences. The UK government had slated a June 2017 trial for Diezani. It is 2019 and she not only hasn’t been taken to court, there are no plans of doing so. If a whole UK government can act Buhari-like on a case like this then it means some sort of deal may have been negotiated for her and many fingers are pointing at the Buhari administration. She lets go of some cash and choice properties and she is allowed to roam without any worry of prosecution. The same type of deal she has down here.
We all saw how instead of Patience Jonathan, the former first lady thanking her stars money in the accounts of their former aides wasn’t traced to her, she rushed out to claim them and even took the EFCC to court. The effrontery is shocking. Almost like she knew nobody would charge her to court no matter what. Till date, all the EFCC has done is punish her for that by seizing some more of her properties but it has not as much as invited her for questioning talk more charge her to court. Whenever there is a need to impress or deceive Nigerians, government or its agencies will come out to tell us of a confiscated property or amount of money. No talk of prosecution. Pardon me to think the Diezani jewelries and iPhone may have been planted.
President Buhari specifically told Nigerians every corrupt person will have their day in court. Why are these persons still walking free? What message are we sending to other prospective mass looters of our common wealth- steal but steal enough to return some?
The Buhari administration has continuously done nothing as far as the very big guns are concerned. Not even to kill off the many stories being peddled around.
It has been whispered in some quarters that the reason why the first lady, Aisha Buhari’s aide de camp, Sani Baba-Inna has not been charged to court for defrauding undisclosed persons of N2.5bn in her name is that he acts as a liaison between her and corrupt persons whom she extorts with the threat of prosecution. His family has been reported as saying they know he took her money and that he was a front for her. Diezani is said to be one of the first lady’s worst victims. Jail is the last place the woman would want to be in and she will do anything to avoid it. Pardon me again to think those items may have been planted and to some effect. Less and less people celebrate the seizures without worrying about the need to set a deterrent with Diezani.
The only way Buhari will truly impress us as far as the lady is concerned is having her pay for her sins.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano