These are interesting times in Nigeria. Just when you think we have as a nation maximised our dance to the ridiculous, we suddenly increase the lyrics and upscale our dance steps to the absurd.
After being treated to what sounded, at the initial stage, like a tale by the moonlight, by no less a personality than Hon. Gudaji Kazaure, a serving member of the Federal House of Reps, alleging unprecedented sleaze on the part of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, suddenly a bigger issue came up, which many Nigerians quickly dismissed with a wave of the hand, the story that the Department of State Services (DSS) had sought a court order to arrest and detain the CBN Governor on allegations of terrorism financing.
Firstly, on the allegation made by Hon. Kazaure, a post in the social media whose author I am yet to discern captures it very succintly, thus:
“I am surprised that the news space, especially the social media, hasn’t exploded from the alleged monumental scam in the CBN revealed by Honorable Gudaje Kazaure in the special programme of Human Rights Radio and Television, on December 15, 2022. Instead, na so so about whose nudes is being leaked and other threats we de talk about. I like nudes too sha.
Anyway, I have decided to bring the info to your screen. Thank me later.
So, from research, Mr Adetola Adekoya, a Nigerian British, discovered that it is possible for the government to generate funds up to 20 to 40 billion naira ‘daily’ from stamp duty charges on any transaction above 2,000 naira. He came into the country and he was introduced to the president. The President approved of the idea, provided security for him and made him the company in charge of consultancy for stamp duty tax.
Mr Adetola was allegedly invited to the CBN by the governor, obviously for a double deal appointment. Mr Adetola, being a man of integrity refused the offer and left. But everything changed for him. An assassination attempt was made on his life. He survived with injuries, losing some of his security. He was rushed to a hospital in Nigeria. While he was there, his security was withdrawn, leaving him open to danger, without protection.
He wrote to the British government and he was immediately flown out of the country, to continue his treatment in the UK. Note, that the President was completely unaware of these events. The man was treated and continued his life, having had a taste of the dangers of being passionate about this country and trying to support her.
Honorable Gudaje Kazaure met this man while on a function in the UK. The man narrated all that happened to him. The Honourable promised to get to the root of it. On returning to Nigeria, he sought an audience with the president and it was granted. He narrated Mr Adeloya’s story and many other things to him. The President was almost crying.
Mr Adetola Adekoya was invited, specially, back to Nigeria by the President, under the security of the DSS. He met with the President and Mr Gudaje Kazaure was asked to form a recovery committee of people with integrity, for the stamp duty tax taken from 2017. That is, the 50 naira charged from every transaction above 2,000 naira.
The committee discovered that, actually, 100 naira was also taken for transactions above 5,000 naira. That the CBN did a 60-40 arrangement with the banks, where the monies go into different private accounts in different amounts. From those accounts, the monies move to a forex account. Guess how much has been there.
From April 2017 to April 2020 alone, the transactions to that account alone hit 171 billion US dollars. That’s the summation of the amount taken from you on every transaction above 2,000 and 5,000, on stamp duty alone for 3 years. Imagine other years. What about the other alerts of unclear deductions that Nigerian bank customers see daily?
Honourable Gudaje Kazaure alleges that the CBN governor is the most powerful person in Nigeria and can make you a billionaire within a day. In his funny example, which isn’t new to me, he says the man just has to allocate ten million dollars to you at the official rate. The banks and major BDC players will call to make offers of the prices they will buy from you. If you agree, they will ask if you want a fresh account for which they will send you the difference between the official rate and the amount they are buying it from you. You will receive your alert of the difference, they will receive the dollars and CBN will receive the naira. Everybody is happy, you are happier as the newest billionaire in town.
Oh, and there is 89.9 trillion naira.
Meaning that the country has no reason borrowing at all and that the budget can sufficiently be funded by stamp duty alone.”
The writer concluded with a disparaging commentary on the CBN Governor, which we are not going to reproduce here. But the programme is available on YouTube and is five hours plus in lenght.
Of course, Human Rights Radio gave the right of reply to the CBN Governor through the Director Corporate Communications of the bank, earlier this week. The director tried to discredit the argument by Hon. Kazaure, insisting that the whole balance sheet of the entire banking industry in Nigeria is not more than two-thirds of the claimed amount.
But obviously because he could not provide any credible information as to how much the amount could be, the programme anchor, Ordinary President Ahmed Isa, asked that Emefiele himself should make out time to feature on the programme and fully defend himself.
Now, if you think all the allegations by Kazaure could be dismissed with a wave of the hand or swept under the carpet, what of the terrorism financing allegations made by the DSS against the same Emefiele?
Typically Nigerian, some persons masquerading as civil society organisations were gathered and allegedly sponsored to protest the planned arrest of the CBN Governor by the DSS. But none of the protesters addressed the real issue, apart from alleging that the whole thing is being orchestrated by the APC, whose presidential candidate, it was inferred, wanted to use cash to win the forthcoming presidential election by default. Of course this is a political season where all sorts of allegations are bandied by political jobbers.
But is the DSS, under its current director general the type of organisation that has lent itself to political purposes? God so kind, records do not lie. And of course the answer is that in its entire history, the DSS has not thus far had a leader who has truly been as professional, decent and apolitical as Mr Yusuf Bichi.
In any case, there is no way the DSS under Bichi can cook up falsehood against a CBN Governor who is a registered member of the ruling APC. Definitely one is not saying Mr. Emefiele is guilty, but what the whole thing means is that those Nigerians being hysterical about the whole thing and trying to disparage the DSS and its chief executive, should simply allow the law to fully take its course.
From the little I know of Emefiele, he is a good man. So if he has nothing to hide, he should go to the DSS himself and clear himself of all the allegations.
Millions of Nigerians have been victims of terrorism, and there have been arguments that some of the sponsors of the highcrime are in high places within and outside government.
What this therefore means is that the DSS should be applauded for the courage to help Nigeria get to the root of this very weighty matter that has been bogging it down.
Some of us that harbour some respect for Governor Emefiele will be happy once it is established he has nothing to hide. But to give the impression that some people are above the law, just because they are holders of high office, is to consign Nigeria as a banana republic where might is right. And no society can survive or thrive in lawlessness.
(To be concluded)