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Thursday, 24 October 2013

KNOW GEN. MOHAMMADU BUHARI (PART 4) EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS AS HEAD OF STATE



- Buhari made it very clear he would not be doing any business with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and had no need of their bogey loans which are in reality, booby traps (IBB would later gladly take them). Buhari instead, advocated for barter and direct countertrade with Brazil and other nations of the Third World. He was more interested in bartering oil for technology, spare parts and raw materials. Naturally, that pitched him against the West even if that meant good news for the economy of the world’s most populous black nation. However, this move was severely criticized by people like General Olusegun Obasanjo and Major-General James Oluleye.

- Corrupt civilian governors and ministers under the Shagari government were all rounded up by Buhari and jailed. IBB would later release them in droves. President Shagari himself and his vice, Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme were slammed with corruption charges.

-Expulsion of foreigners: About 700,000 foreigners, especially from Ghana and other West African nations were expelled from Nigeria following an announcement on the 15th of April 1985. The Internal Affairs Minister dropped the bombshell and illegal immigrants had to scurry to meet the deadline of 10th May. The exodus was massive but it was not the first time it would occur.

-Death sentence for drug mules: The Buhari regime is also notorious for sentencing to death those convicted of drug trafficking with Decree 20. However, nothing caused more uproar than the retroactive application of the laws even though this has been disputed. Bartholomew Owoh, Bernard Ogedengbe and Lawal Ojulope were made to face the firing squad. Some argue that Owoh was the only one arrested BEFORE the promulgation of the decree. In April 1985, six Nigerians were convicted by a Special Military Tribunal headed by Justice Adebayo Adesalu and condemned to death for drug trafficking: Mrs. Sidikatu Tairi, Miss Sola Oguntayo, Oladele Omosebi, Lasunkanmi Awolola, Jimi Adebayo and Gladys Iyamah.

I remember clearly one of the women fainting upon hearing the death sentence and prison officials had to come to her rescue. Gladys Iyamah, locked up at the Federal Maximum Security Prisons in Kirikiri, Lagos, was a crippled mother of two and was the first woman in the history of Nigeria to be sentenced to death. The Federal Military Government knew the implication of executing a paralysed mother of two and the sentence was secretly approved. But thankfully, it was never carried out.

-War Against Indiscipline (WAI): On the 20th of March 1984, the Buhari/Idiagbon regime launched this programme that many Nigerians will remember biting their fingers and desperately preventing a tear from dropping ….lmao! Not a few will forget the koboko (horse whip) lashes that lacerated their backs when they became unruly at bus-stops or littered the environment. And if you fail to do the environmental sanitation activities at that time, you don enter one chance be dat. Just pray that a miracle will occur and Idiagbon’s WAI Brigades (set up in each state under the Ministry of Information and Culture) do not catch you.

The essence of WAI was to instill discipline and order in a society that has now all but broken down as far as morality and etiquette were concerned. Today, indiscipline and entropy reign in the Nigerian society. Even while outside the country, quite a lot of Nigerians are thoroughly indisciplined, shouting at airports, making noise inside the aircraft (or refusing to switch off phones or use seat belts), fighting over things that will leave you smh..ing, not obeying simple instructions in their host countries and all sorts of abanilojuje behaviour.

Nigeria surely needs a new version of WAI, with vigorous implementation from the Presidency downwards because the level of entropy today is alarming. Soldiers beat up policemen, civilians are regularly harassed by uniformed men to the point that many ‘bloody civilians’ think it is a normal thing…and so on, and so on. WAI was first launched in Kano by the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon.

Then came Buhari and his anti-corruption goons, and they were bent on getting their hands on people like Dikko, who was accused of stealing $1 billion before negotiating with his legs. Thus, he was drugged, put into a crate and labelled as ‘Diplomatic Baggage’. An empty Nigerian Airways Boeing 707 plane was already waiting at the Stansted Airport waiting for him to be ‘extradited’ back to Nigeria (I laugh so hard each time I remember this story, sounds like a comedy-filled drama). Just at the last moment, one of the eagle-eyed British officers at the airport noticed some unusual activity and demanded a thorough search. The Nigerian team of ‘kidnappers’ had rented an apartment and actually posed as refugees seeking asylum from Buhari’s regime while the Israeli guys disguised as anti-apartheid activists and tourists from Africa…lol!

Later on, the team combed all the high-brow areas of London, sifted through the registries but saw no trace of Dikko until one day when one of the Israelis sighted him while driving. He parked and trailed Dikko to his home. The Director of MOSSAD, Nahum Admoni was immediately contacted and an Israeli consultant anaesthetist was hired to administer anaesthetic agents to Dikko and fit in an endotracheal tube to prevent him from choking to death in his own saliva.

The next day, Dikko was abducted right in front of his home and put in a van driven by Yusufu. And off to the airport, where he was passed off as ‘diplomatic luggage’ from the Nigerian embassy. Dikko said in an interview with the BBC in 1985: “I remember the very violent way in which I was grabbed and hurled into a van, with a huge fellow sitting on my head – and the way in which they immediately put on me handcuffs and chains on my legs.”

Unfortunately for them, Dikko’s secretary, Elizabeth Hayes, had witnessed the abduction and she alerted the authorities thinking it was an act by criminals, even the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was informed. And again, they failed to actually label the crate as diplomatic baggage and as the airport officials were clearing the ‘cargo’, a list arrived alerting them of a kidnap. That was how the plan was foiled. The crate was opened just minutes before the plane was to take off and inside it was Dikko, without shoes, socks or shirt but with a heart monitor placed on his chest and handcuffs on his ankles, lying on his back and the Israeli doctor, who was inside with his kit of anaesthetics to ensure that the poor dude does not die in flight. The cargo manager, narrated that the cargo was not labelled and did not have the proper documentation and they had to opened and do the accreditation in the presence of a Nigerian diplomat, who was already present, he said to the BBC:

…the cargo manager, hit the lid on the bottom and lifted it. And as he lifted it, the Nigerian diplomat, who was standing next to me, took off like a startled rabbit across the tarmac,” Mr Morrow said.
“You have to remember we are on an airfield which is square miles of nothing. He ran about five yards (4.5m), realised no-one was chasing him and then stopped.
“Peter looked into the crate and said: ‘There’s bodies inside!’
Even after that, the kidnappers insisted that Dikko was the biggest crook in the world…lol!
If not, Dikko would have opened his eyes only to meet himself under the bright shiny sun of Ikeja and he go do him like dream……e for sweet die….lolololol! He was later taken to a clinic and he sustained no injuries and later lived in Britain for more than 10 years before returning to Nigeria. In an interview in November 2012 with the BBC, Dikko said he has not forgiven his kidnappers:

”Those that orchestrated my kidnapping are still alive; it was just wickedness and blatant lies against me. They are still alive and why would I forgive them? Why would I forgive such inhuman and barbaric act against human being, without them asking for forgiveness? This is the lies we face in Nigeria and the truth is clear, I haven’t forgiven them, it is just propaganda that they used through the media. Have they repented? Before you forgive a person, he must repent and say it is a mistake or intentional, but have they repented? This is my stand, if some agreed that they made a mistake then you forgive them; but they have not and I haven’t forgiven them. What have they found after all these plots?

Diplomatic relations between Britain was broken off for two years and even when a formal application was made to the British government by Buhari’s junta, it was turned down. Omo, e no funny o…lol! The drama did not end there. The Nigerian Airways crew was detained (Buhari also responded by ordering a British Caledonian plane that was already in the air flying from Lagos to London via Kano be returned back to Lagos where it was also detained by the Nigerian authorities. Immediately the United Kingdom released the Nigerian Airways crew, Buhari also freed the British plane to fly to London…lol) and total of 17 men were arrested and four of them were later sentenced to 10-14 years, these included the anaesthestist, two MOSSAD agents who hid in the second crate and Yusufu. All of them were released after spending 6-8.5 years in jail and were silently deported. Nigeria retaliated too buy promptly picking up two British engineers (for stealing aircraft….rotflmao!!!) in Nigeria and slamming 14-year prison sentences on them. Do me I do you, man no go vex…lol!

Interestingly, both the Nigerian and Israeli governments denied any responsibility in the saga. However, Nigerians were overwhelmingly in support of Buhari at this time and even called for diplomatic relationship with Britain severed. Even the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) commended Buhari for the way he handled the affair.

NB: I must state that this operation was covert and was carried out despite the fact that both countries were yet to normalize diplomatic relations. Israel was still getting a huge chunk of her oil from Nigeria while Israel was a major supplier of arms to Nigeria. Both nations still had underground relations. Even till today, Israeli forces are involved in providing security for the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

-His regime also managed to reduce inflation, rejected all IMF’s conditionalities, such as the devaluing the naira, sharply reduced unnecessary imports, minimized oil bunkering and when bunkered oil was seized, he used it to get relevant commodities, equipment and machinery using the counter trade policy. The latter measure ensured that Nigeria was exporting even above the OPEC quota. Today, what happens? An entire tanker full of bunkered oil disappears right under the nose of the Nigerian Navy…lol!

-There was also a sudden creation of new notes to halt currency smuggling and there was considerable refinancing of trade debt arrears.

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