The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Garba Shehu, has said that no fewer than 100,000 Nigerians died as a result of the diversion of monies meant for the purchase of hardware for the Nigerian military by the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
He said the monies were diverted for political and personal use, a situation for which the nation is yet to recover from.
Shehu stated this in a television programe Monday morning, stressing that the non-release of Dasuki is because he has so many cases pending against him, even though the courts may have ordered his release on some of them, adding that: “There is (also) the argument about greater public good overriding individual good.”
He said that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami had spoken severally about the weapons which were seized from Dasuki for which he was being charged.
“The bigger thing is that the Attorney General said that more than 100,000 Nigerians have lost their lives arising from actions or inactions of the gentleman while he was in office and how did that happen?
“Because money was assigned to his office to go and buy military hardware so that we confront insurgency, but these monies found their way into the hands and bank accounts of politicians to go around for campaign. So therefore the Attorney General is saying yes, this one individual has his rights, but so do the 100,000 or more people who had lost their lives. That’s my understanding of what the AGF has said,” he said.
On the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu insisted that it was Nigerians who wanted the president back for a second term in view of the good works he has done in the last three years.
According to him, “He deserved it based on his accomplishments since assuming office. This is a president who was mandated by the Nigerian people. He has rid the country of terrorism and issue of insecurity, resuscitated the economy and fight corruption.
“On all (these) points, the president has delivered an ‘A’ score. It is on this basis that there is now a huge and enormous clamour by the Nigerians people that he must not rest; that he should go for four more years, that is where we are today.”
On the president’s contradictory position on the rule of law based on the his speech at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Shehu stressed: “There is absolutely, certainly no contradiction on what the president said yesterday. The position that he advanced at the NBA yesterday, is to the effect that the general good overrides individual good. It is a philosophical position long established in all nations in the world.
“So I don’t think there is need for any fuss over this matter. It is a certain matter on democracy. It is a certain matter regurgitated by the supreme court of Nigeria in handling a particular case. So therefore, this is the season of politics and people are just aiming at shots. Beyond that I don’t think there is something controversial in what the president has said.
“The truth is that the president had the decency not to go into specifics. So when people spins it on their own, they are entitled to their own opinion; and where they make mistakes, they are entitled to those.”
Shehu also spoke on the controversy still surrounding the release of the Chibok girls, saying that the release was an exchange and that it was not paid for.
“I’m not aware that money changed hands. The release of about five Boko Haram suspects was done… when you say commanders were released, I deny that because I’m not aware that any commander was set free. Five Boko Haram men who in the assessment of our own security agents would pose no further threat to the society were let go as part of the process leading to the release of the Chibok girls. I’m not aware that any of them was a commander of a faction or any troop,” he said.