by Obinna Akukwe
Whether President Goodluck Jonathan decides to victimize, sack or prosecute Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria’s sacked Central Bank Chief, the truth is that a $20 billion dollar theft has been exposed and the sheer size of the theft is treasonable, especially with 80 million people living below $10 dollars daily.
$20 billion dollars have been stolen, hoarded, hidden and unremitted by some officials of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the connivance of some elements within the presidency. I have made case in the earlier piece released just before Sanusi’s suspension titled ‘Jonathan, Sanusi, NNPC and the missing ( Stolen) $20 billion Dollars ‘ that “those who connived to withhold the $20 billion dollars include Christians from the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, White Garment and Pentecostal folds. They also include Muslims from Shia sect, Sunni sect, NASFAT, Boko Haram sect and all groups calling on God or Allah to protect them from the wicked ranting of impoverished unfortunate countrymen about to challenge their divine $ 20 billion dollar breakthrough”
All these attempts to tag a N163 billion naira, ( $1 billion dollar) accusations of wasteful and unauthorized spending on Sansui’s head is an attempt to sweep the issue of the stolen billions into the carpet. To cover up a treasonable theft of $20 billion dollars, a kite of reckless use of $ 1 billion dollars was flown about. In 2012 when Hon Farouk Lawan Committee of the lower parliament exposed the theft of $10 billion dollars (N1.7 trillion naira) of petroleum products paid for without being supplied to the Nigerian people, the agents and friends of government pursued Lawan with corruption until they trapped him with bribery of $1 million dollars, and that was how a theft of $ 10 Billion dollars was forgotten.
The House of Representatives have confirmed that Nigeria loses $5 billion dollars to oil theft annually. According to the Chairman of the House ad-hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Bashir Adamu, “The level of oil theft is alarming and of grave concern to stakeholders”.. “Illegal bunkering has caused Nigeria to lose an estimated $5 billion (N780 billion) yearly, amounting to $400 billion since Nigeria’s independence. “Statistics show that a total of 350,000 barrels per day was lost to illegal bunkering in 2012, representing an increase of 45 per cent over the figure of 2011, and 67 per cent over that of 2010, while the trend for 2013 is even more alarming”. In Jonathan’s tenure since 2010, it amounts to $20 billion dollars in 4 years. Sanusi’s revelations shows that $20 billion dollars was stolen in eighteen months, it follows that in four years $56 billion dollars would ultimately have missed.
Therefore, from this oil business, Nigeria has lost approximately $20 billion dollars to oil theft, $20 billion dollars to subsidy theft of 2011, $20 billion dollars missing funds and probably another $20 billion dollars missing from the previous 18 months not yet exposed. Add the recently exposed $ 7billion dollars fraud in the NNPC Swiss oil deal and the $1 billion dollar Malabu Oil Deal and you get $88 billion dollars stolen in four years. Therefore, when Nigerians stop asking questions on what happened to $88 billion dollars and become interested in how Sanusi allegedly mismanaged $1 billlion dollars, then an Indian charm is working on everybody.
Months ago a document allegedly from the Nigerian Customs indicted the Coordinating Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iwuala of granting waivers to the tune of 1.4 trillion naira ( $9 billion Dollars ) between 2011 and 2013 to companies allegedly owned by friends and cronies of government., The Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs, Mr Dikko. Inde Speaking when he appeared before the Joint Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriation said that about N 866 billion was lost to waivers within a 9-month period, including N263.8 billion granted on importation of petroleum products. This is $ 4 billion dollars in nine months alone. Jonathan is yet to issue a query to Mrs Okonjo Iwuala on the issue. When the Senate was cross examining her, she admitted granting waiver of over N 170 Billion naira. Her bosom friend and Nigeria’s oil minister Dieziani Madueke has more financial infractions than every other government official and no frown has yet come from the government. Therefore, the speed at which Sanusi was thrown away is just an act of victimization for exposing a 20 billion dollar sleaze.
To many persons, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi represents many things-
To majority of Christians in Nigeria, he is a religious fundamentalist who wanted to impose Islamic Banking on the nation.
To some Churches, he is the villain who ordered he freezing of the accounts on accounts of terrorism
To some indigenes of Southern parts of Nigeria, he is a suspected Boko Haram sponsor
To the Kano Citizens, he is the Best successor to the throne of the Emirship of Kano
To International investors, he restored confidence in the Nigerian economy.
To stock brokers, he maintained stability in the stock exchange market.
To business men, he controlled inflation and brought it to all time low in many years
To corrupt bankers, he is the demon who is worse than the EFCC, seeking to retrieve money that is not his father’s
To PDP politicians, he is the Lucifer who wants to stop the accumulation of funds to prosecute the 2015 presidential elections
To financially aware depositors, he is the champion who ensured that every fund they deposited in any bank in Nigeria is always available on demand even at huge cost to national treasury.
To me, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is an Islamic Zealot who has a few baggages which has to be tamed and lots of assets which can be of immense help to Nigeria. In a write up I released two years ago titled ‘Sanusi, Ohanaeze and the Timidity of Igbo Public Servants’, I asked Ohanaeze to stop complaining about what Sanusi did for the North, rather they should encourage their Igbo counterpart to do same for their people. It was the most senior Igbo Public Servant in Nigeria that stopped Azubuko Udah from replacing Hafsat Ringim as Inspector General of Police due to Assemblies of God Church local politics.
During the period when CBN froze bank accounts of churches, some Christian Bishops and leaders under the aegis of CAN and PFN approached me to do something about Sanusi’s rascality especially over their frozen funds. They believed that as an activist in their midst, there is something I could do that will yield result quicker than the court processes being planned by the National Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. Therefore, when I released the report on how CBN froze the accounts of churches, within hours spiraled all over the social media and CBN under Sanusi spent tens of millions of naira denying the facts on every national daily, radio and television stations. Eventually the churches accounts were opened within twenty four hours from the time the report was released and their harassment by EFCC ceased till today. This however does not mean that Sanusi is all about mischief.
Sansui’s greatest achievement is ensuring that the man on the street has access to his money in the bank, anytime he wants it. Sanusi also ensured that that the era of thieving bankers doing business with depositor’s money at the expense of genuine business men came to an end. Sanusi drew people’s attention to monumental corruption among South South Governors at the expense of their people. If Sanusi were to be an Igbo man, he would probably have committed billions towards building or pressurized President Jonathan start and finish the construction of a second Niger Bridge. I wish Sanusi were Igbo, he would have dragged our boot licking politicians to the mud, and attracted infrastructural patronage to the South East.
Sanusi is being victimized for exposing another treasonable theft of $20 billion dollars belonging to all Nigerians and people should demand the recovery of the stolen funds because over 80 million Nigerians living below poverty lines need it.