President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has cleared the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai, of corruption allegations, without any investigation, according to critics, and his recent interview may suggest that 73 year old Buhari might have learnt from ‘mistakes he made’ 31 years ago when he was overthrown by his then Chief of Army Staff, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in August 1985, as he tried to “purge the military hierarchy of corruption”.
Mr. Buratai is being accused of acquiring choice properties in Dubai with money possibly meant to fight Boko Haram, while retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser, who was among the people who led the coup against Mr. Buhari in 1985, is being tried by the Buhari administration for allegedly using money meant to fight Boko Haram for personal and political purposes.
But while Mr. Dasuki is on trial, Mr. Buratai has been quickly cleared of corruption allegations without serious investigations, critics say.
In an exclusive interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, President Buhari disclosed that he was removed from office 31 years ago because he was planning to purge the military hierarchy of corruption.
Mr. Buhari said senior military leaders, led by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Aliyu Gusau, removed him in August 1985, to save themselves from his wrath.
Mr. Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to tell the truth on why they carried out the coup against him.
“I learnt,” he said, “that Aliyu Gusau, who was in charge of intelligence, took import licence from the ministry of commerce which was in charge of supplies and gave it to Alhaji Mai Deribe.
“It was worth N100,000, a lot of money at that time. I confronted them and took the case to the Army council in a memo…I wanted Gusau punished.”
In a statement on www: theinterview.com.ng, the Managing Director/Editor-in-chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, said, “This is one edition that won’t let sleeping dogs lie.”
Babangida had told The Interview in its December edition that there was nothing in the memo which Buhari said he submitted to the Army council.
“Don’t forget that I was one of Buhari’s closest aides. I was the chief of army staff. So, I had an important position, an important role to play within that administration. I don’t think it had to do with a memo,” Babangida said.
But in a tone which revealed that the past may neither have been forgotten nor forgiven, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to come clean on why they removed him, asking The Interview to choose whose story to believe.
Mr. Buhari said last week that unfounded allegations against his allies were terrible and orchestrated attempts to discredit his government. But the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, hit back in a statement to TheSimonAtebaNews, saying that “words were not enough” to clear his allies or cabinet members of corruption.
CACOL called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate Mr. Buhari’s allies before clearing them, wondering if the President was still committed to his electoral promises.
Many may likely see Mr. Buhari’s interview and the reluctance of his administration to probe Buratai as wisdom from a man who was once overthrown for trying to do the same thing.
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