PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, through his media organisation, has listed a number of odd events, including a donation from Aliko Dangote and the unlawful detention of Sambo Dasuki, as part of his administration’s achievements during its first term.
On Sunday, November 18, while presenting the All Progressive Congress’s campaign roadmap and report of stewardship themed ‘Next Level’, President Buhari said a foundation has been laid over the last three and a half years “for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people”.
Evidence of this foundation was condensed into section one of a document that was released on the same day. Festus Keyamo, the official spokesperson of the campaign organisation, writes in the preamble that the manual “is devoid of too much complex data”, directing readers who may wish to further interrogate its content to a website: www.buharisachievements.com.
On this website, there is an abridged party manifesto and a list of achievements, ongoing and completed projects dealing with the economy, anti-corruption, and security. It also has a category for achievements “compiled by credible media and independent groups”, but wholly attributed to the Buhari Media Organisation. Some of the highlighted achievements, The ICIR has observed, are vague, misattributed, or clear violations of the rule of law.
Inaugurated vehicles donated by Dangote
One of the very odd achievements highlighted by the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, is listed close to the end of list on security. “The Buhari administration inaugurated 150 patrol vehicles donated to the Nigeria Police Force by the Aliko Dangote Foundation,” it is stated.
The donation, which took place in May, was recognised as the single largest by any private individual, and Dangote, at the ceremony, had said he might donate another batch in the future. It is difficult to see how the foundation’s gesture could be considered a noteworthy achievement on the part of the federal government, or any achievement at all. There are no reports indicating that the government made any active moves soliciting the contribution.
“The donation of 150 cars to the Nigerian Police Force is laudable and we thank Aliko Dangote Foundation for this rare gesture; that is characteristic of the person of Aliko Dangote. He has shown over the years to be an entrepreneur with a difference, a man that gives willingly to the poor,” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had remarked at the ceremony.
Strangely, two bullet points after this item is another “achievement” that mentions Aliko Dangote: “The Buhari Administration ensured the arrest of two trucks belonging to Dangote Group loaded with foreign rice in the total of 365 bags of 50kg size by the Sokoto/Kebbi/Zamfara Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service.”
Dasuki’s 31 months in detention
The website dedicated to Buhari’s achievement, tagged “doing more with less… gradually killing corruption”, also glorifies the unlawful, continued detention of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, alleged to have diverted $2.1 billion arms fund.
“A former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki,” it states, “has spent 31 months in detention over an allegation of mismanagement of $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms. Most of the other corruption cases involving top shots had their root in the Dasuki gate as it is now known.”
Dasuki has been granted bail by different courts on at least five occasions but still has not been granted freedom by the federal government. In 2015, he was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja, only to be immediately rearrested at the gates of Kuje prison.
In October 2016, the ECOWAS Court also ordered the federal government to pay a compensation of N15 million to Dasuki for his “unlawful arrest”. Again, in January 2017, an Abuja High Court reaffirmed the validity of bail granted to the former NSA and five others.
In May, after pleading not guilty to all the charges, he was granted yet another bail by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of an Abuja High Court.
Re-election of Oby Nwankwo to CEDAW
As part of the eight listed achievements of the administration on matters relating to women, the BMO includes the “re-election of Mrs. Oby Nwankwo to the Committee on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).”
This logically implies that the government of Nigeria influenced or lobbied for the late Nwankwo’s second electoral success — which is neither desirable nor evidenced in media reports — rather than allowing her to be elected strictly based on her own merits.
Obiageli Theodora Nwankwo was one of Africa’s distinguished women’s rights icons before she passed away on December 9, 2017. She was elected as a member of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Expert Committee in January 2013, and was re-elected to serve another four years in 2016.
A total of 104 experts have served as members of the committee since 1982, and these experts were originally nominees who had received the highest number of votes of the representatives of state parties. The election is conducted using the secret ballot system.
While the federal government is eager to share in Nwankwo’s successes, a good number of her campaigns for legal reform have so far hit the wall. These include her campaign for the domestication of CEDAW and the African Union Protocol on The Rights of Women in the country, as well as the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, which has been alleged to be at loggerheads with local customs.
Inauguration of Sexual Offences Court
Also among the few achievements listed under women affairs category is what the BMO says is the “inauguration of Sexual Offences Court through judicial reforms”. This achievement, it would appear, belongs more appropriately to the Lagos State Government.
In February, the state government inaugurated four special courts, two tasked with the adjudication of economic and financial crimes and two with the trial of sexual offences — the latter acclaimed to be the first of their kind in Nigeria.
What the federal government may lay some claim to is the recommendation given in 2017 by Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, that special courts should be created for the speedy dispensation of corruption cases.
Onnoghen, in a press statement released in May, had, in fact, passed the buck for the creation of these courts to the executive and legislative arms. “It is the Executive that has the prerogative in conjunction with the legislature to set up courts, including the Special Courts, under our Constitution,” he said.
“It is not the duty of the Judiciary nor that of the Chief Justice of Nigeria. If the executive and the legislature, who have the powers, decide to establish a special Court or any other Court for that matter, the Judiciary will run it by providing the manpower.”
Other odd achievements noticed on the website include that, under President Buhari, “Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno State Chapter declared the 2017 Easter Celebrations as the best and safest since 2009”.
The BMO also lists under achievements on education that the “Nigerian university system added eight new universities (two state-owned, six private)” under the administration.
“Quite striking also in 2017 is that JAMB processed within a month, admission into the Nigerian higher education system of 1.7 million candidates compared to 1.6 million in 2016,” states another point.