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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I want Nigerians to be fair to me - GMB

I want Nigerians to be fair to me. Like this
case of 53, 55 suitcases, like the case of
Thi is an excerpted interview granted with an incorruptible Major General muhammad Buhari with THE SUN NEWS, on his 70th birthday for the controversial 53 suit cases that allegedly came into the country during his government.

Here are his word:
I want Nigerians to be fair to me. Like this
case of 53, 55 suitcases, like the case of
N2.8billion. I want Nigerians to be fair and
to be fair, all these documents are in the
Nigerian archives. As I said, I didn’t do
anything important outside the three
organs of government: the Supreme
Military Council, Council of States and
Council of Ministers. On serious issues,
Nigerians should do some research. That is
why I always make emphasis on
investigative journalism. If you want to be
fair and impartial, I am sure you can have
the capacity, both intellectual and resource
to make an in-depth investigation.
"They said
N2.8billion oil money was missing.
It couldn’t have been missing. The
governor of the Central Bank then, the late
Clement Isong, said it was ridiculous, that
N2.8billion couldn’t be missing because he
said even the king of Saudi Arabia, couldn’t
issue a cheque of N2.8billion. When you
have paid your money for petroleum, they
are normally put in the country’s external
account and no bank will release that
amount of money at a go because it was
deposited. And then, at that time, Nigeria
was exporting about 1.82 million barrels a
day. And the cost of barrel a day was about
$18. You work out N2.8billion. How could
N2.8billion be missing and we still have
money to run the country? So, it was just a
There was nothing like this 53 suitcases. What
happened was that there was my chief of
protocol; he is now late. He had three
wives, and I think about 12 children. He
was in Saudi Arabia as Nigeria Ambassador
to Saudi Arabia. He was in Libya before, as
ambassador and later, he was posted to
Saudi Arabia. And then, I appointed him as
my chief of protocol and he was coming
back. Three wives, about 12 children. And
then, by some coincidence, the late Emir of
Gwandu, the father of Jokolo, who was my
ADC then, was coming back with the same
flight. And somehow, some mischievous
fellows, everything, including the handbag
of maybe, their small daughters, were
counted as suitcases. Atiku then was the
Commandant of Murtala Muhammed
Airport as customs officer. And that day,
we were playing squash. Jokolo my ADC and
I. At some point, I said to him, ‘Mustapha,
is your father not coming back today
again?’ He said, ‘yes, sir, he is coming.’ I
said, ‘what are you doing here? Why can’t
you go and meet your father?’ He said yes,
sir. He went to wash and meet his father. I
am telling you there was no 53 bags of
suitcases. It was a bloody lie. It was a
bloody mischief.
By then,He was not even
about to go. I was the one who made him
to go and meet his father. He was a
respected emir, in fact, if not the most
respected emir in the North then. He was
learned, he had fantastic credibility and
personal integrity. And this man was just
coming on posting with his wives and
children and they counted every imaginable
thing, they said 53 suitcases.
Shagari also did the only honourable
thing. He ordered a judicial enquiry and
put a serving Justice of the Supreme Court,
the late Justice Irikefe, to carry out
investigation. And their terms of reference
were put there. They said anybody who had
an idea of missing N2.8billion, let him
come and tell Justice Irikefe. Nobody had
any evidence. It was just rubbish. Well,
later, Tai Solarin and Professor Awojobi
were confronted and Fela, the late Fela, to
go and prove their case. They had no
evidence, most of them took the
newspaper cuttings of their allegations to
the tribunal.
I know almost Everybody likes money but I am not very
good at making money. Let me put it that
way. I borrowed from the banks to build
the house in Daura,Abuja, kano and this one (Kaduna).
The bank then was Barclays, now Union
Bank. Kaduna State or North Central then
housing scheme and the Federal Mortgage
Bank for the house I am in and AIB, which
was, I think, terminated by Central Bank.
So, when you go through the records, you
find out that the houses I built, I borrowed
from there.
When Murtala/Obasanjo regime
came, they made sure that certain grades
of public officers must declare their assets
when they assumed that office and they
must declare when they were leaving. So,
when I was sworn in as governor of North
East, I declared my assets.
I declared surprisingly, even the number of
my cows then. Even if they were supposed
to be producing every year, but I declared
them the time I was there. And when I was
leaving governorship, I became petroleum
minister. When I was leaving to go to War
College, I declared my assets. I could recall
General Jemibewon then, was the Adjutant-
General of the Army. He rang me and said
he was sending me asset declaration form,
that I must fill it, sign it before I left for the
United States. And I did. General
Jemibewon is still alive. And when I became
head of state eventually, I declared my
assets again. So, all of us; when I say that, I
mean Obasanjo downwards, those who are
alive who were governors, ministers, head
of states, they had declared assets. So, if
you people are serious and interested
about political officers becoming multi-
billionaires, you can find out from Murtala
downwards. And those of us who were not
very good in making money you should pity

 When Supreme Military
Council in 1977 approved the merger of the
Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC)
and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources
and made Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC). I was lucky to be a minister of petroleum and as a minister,I signed the contract
for Warri Refinery, for Kaduna Refinery, for
more than 20 depots all over the country,
for laying of pipelines, more than 3200
kilometers and I couldn’t recall Nigeria
borrowing a kobo for those projects. And
then, by the time I became head of state,
because I went to War College in the United
States before the military handed over to
the Second Republic and came back in 1980
and then, there was coup at the end of
1983. And that time, you can verify from
Professor Tam David-West who was
Minister of Petroleum Resources. We were
exporting 100,000 barrels per day of
refined products not raw one, which is the efficiency of the
subsequent governments!

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