I want Nigerians to be fair to me. Like this case of 53, 55 suitcases, like the case of N2.8billion-Buhari
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
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 political" 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 us.
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!