Yesterday, it was made public that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) claimed ownership of the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 seized on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos.
This, to my mind is one cover-up too many and this federal government seeming plot to protect the original owner of both the money and the apartment where it was found has further shown that the anti-corruption fight is political, selective and therefore a ruse.
Nigerians should recall that I have consistently maintained that the APC-led federal government was not fighting any corruption. Rather, the government is using the anti-corruption fight as a major political tool to cripple opposition and turn the country to a one party state.
Therefore, for once, the federal government should operate with the mind-set that Nigerians are no fools. They are capable of asking questions and they are already doing that.
Some of the questions being asked are:
- Who is the owner of the apartment in which the money was found?
- Does the apartment also belong to the NIA?
- If the apartment belong to the NIA, when was it bought and from whom?
- If the apartment does not belong to the NIA, from whom and when was it rented?
- How could a whistle-blower be aware of movement of money into one out of many apartments in a building without knowing the owner of the apartment?
- If truly the NIA was carrying out a “covert operation” as claimed, was President Muhammadu Buhari not briefed of the so-called “covert operation” when he took over power?
- Was the National Security Adviser (NSA), whose office controls all intelligence agencies, including the EFCC and DSS not aware of the “covert operation”?
- Was there any security presence at the vicinity of the apartment to suggest that it was being used as warehouse for over N13 billion cash belonging to the NIA?
- Does NIA need such an unprotected apartment to keep such huge sum of money purportedly meant for “covert operation”?
- How much was released for the so-called “covert operation”, how much has been spent and to who was account rendered up to date?
As for me, the script being acted on this discovered cash is a cover-up that will mar the EFCC and the federal government. It is a movie well scripted for some alawada (comedians) but acted so badly.
It is case of a dog that has been eating other people’s children to the admiration of its owner suddenly attacking the beloved son of the owner’s friend and they are now trying to cover-up the dog owner.
It is a major test of the integrity of the APC federal government’s so-called anti-corruption fight, and the earlier the proponents of the cover-up plot come back to their normal senses and tell Nigerians who owns the apartment in which the money was found, the better for them.
In the last few weeks, we have been served with dramas of recovery of funds by the EFCC.
N49 million in cash ranging from N200 to N50 was said to have been found in Kaduna Airport and was promptly “arrested” by EFCC officials. But up till now, Nigerians have not been told the identities of those who brought the five sacks in which the cash was found into the airport despite the presence of CCTV cameras at the airport.
EFCC also fed Nigerians with tales of recovery of N448,850,000 (Four hundred and forty eight million, eight hundred and fifty thousand naira) from a shop at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. We were told that the shop had not been opened for two years and one wonders how the cash got into the shop.
Up till today, EFCC is yet to tell Nigerians the identity of the owner of the shop and Nigerians are asking whether or not the Legico Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos is not owned by anyone and the owner of the Plaza won’t be able to identify his or her tenant.
As for this latest drama, which has boomeranged, even though we know that the APC-led federal government has the capacity to sweep it under the carpet like many others before it, Nigerians will have it on record that they are being ruled by a government of “the more you look, the less you see.”
Ayo Fayose (Osokomole)
Governor, Ekiti State