Nigeria is currently dealing with a scandal involving an arms deal. It includes the alleged theft of $2bn (60bn Nigerian naira). The country’s former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has been arrested in connection. The allegations are that Dasuki handed out fake contracts to buy a number of assets. They include helicopters, fighter jets and ammunition. There are also allegations that the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, was involved. However, these are unofficial and came from a news site, rather than any official agency. Both Dasuki and Saraki deny the allegations leveled at them.
The assets that were supposed to be purchased were intended for the fight against Boko Haram. Sambo Dasuki’s arrest was an order from President Muhammadu Buhari. It occurred after an investigative panel indicted him. The group was set up to explore arms deals under the former government, run by Goodluck Jonathan. Dasuki was arrested by intelligence agents in Abuja, where he lives. Due to separate charges of owning illegal firearms, he was under house arrest. Bukola Saraki, on the other hand, was accused by the news site SaharaReporters. He has denied any involvement. He said the report was intended to besmirch his reputation.
Two other people are involved and have been detained by the authorities. Attahiru Bafarawa and Raymond Dokpesi were both arrested. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) picked them up. The former was previously governor of Sokoto state. Meanwhile, the latter man owns a television station. They too deny that they were involved in the arms deal in any way. Further people with connections to Dasuki have also been arrested. The EFCC also included the former Minister of State for Finance. Some of the sons of politicians were also involved in their allegations of misdealings. Sambo Dasuki has argued that the EFCC’s panel is politically motivated. He says he has not had the opportunity to defend himself.
Many see his arrest as reinforcing President Buhari’s promise to deal with corruption. However, others are criticizing his approach as unbalanced and bias. One of the Buzznigeria News headlines says the Ekiti State Governor has called the president’s efforts a witch-hunt. Ayodele Fayose said that Dasuki’s arrest was due to a “regime of vengeance.” He argues that while he supports the fight against corruption, it must be carried out within the law. Dasuki was put under house arrest, although there was a court order allowing him to travel abroad for cancer treatment. Fayose used this to support his claim that Buhari’s government is showing signs of being more like a dictatorship.
This story is still unfolding and will continue to develop. Meanwhile, an American lawyer has written an open letter to President Buhari asking him to be evenhanded. Bruce Fine specializes in international and constitutional law. He is critical of Buhari’s actions and urges him to consider a more balanced approach.
More news is likely to emerge from the case over the next few days and weeks. As the events develop, everyone involved will be watched closely.