What is your take on the No ‘Flight Zone’ order in Zamfara?
People like us have been calling on Mr President to act, he has not acted anyway but he has reacted on the issue of insecurity bedevilling the country. Specifically on ‘No flight Zone’ declared in Zamfara State
, I think there’s a lot of suspicions that makes us to think in the direction how is it on land that people are transporting arms for these bandits, including feeding and other things. So a lot of suggestions point towards the fact that possibly helicopter can just go over and drop things for them. So, if that will be expected, that means we are very very sure, there won’t be any air support for the bandits around that environment. And there’s no sea there that we can say they will be supplied or supported with anything by boats. So, now that there’s no sea and no flight zone that means there will be no air support for the bandits. Then the military on ground will be able to contain them. So, it is good.
In the area of gold mining, I think it is not enough for Mr president to just sit down in Aso Rock and say nobody should mine gold there again. I think it has to do with the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria because there’s nobody doing illegal mining of oil in Niger-Delta. Every other person operating in Niger-Delta to mine our crude are doing it within the ambit of the law known to the federal government and the people of Nigeria.
You could remember there was a time governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State
frowned at that that if the gold in Zamfara can be mine by individuals, then they should allow the people of Niger-Delta too to mine their crude. So for me, it is not enough for Mr President to just singlehandedly pronounce that. I think this matter, there could be an executive bill sponsored by the presidency to the national assembly and from there, there will be a law made to criminalize whosoever that is mining the gold in Zamfara state without the consent of the federal government. It is a natural resources for Nigeria. If the oil in Niger-Delta is natural resources for Nigeria, well the gold in Zamfara should be. So, it is not enough for Mr. President to just pronounce. And I want to ask you that pronouncement should be enforced by who? It has no legal backing. It’s just a presidential pronouncement which a lot of people are going to play around. Do you think it is a common man that is behind the digging of gold in Zamfara State? No. They are eminent personalities. They are top politicians that are doing this. And these people are capable of turning down the presidential pronouncement without legal baking.
As a security expert what is your take on the shoot-on-sight order on bandits that carry AK-47?
Well AK-47 that I know, it is not a registrable weapon or gun for somebody to use as self protection. It’s not a registrable gun for anybody to use for gaming which we commonly called hunting. AK-47 or any of the AK series are purely to be handled by qualified member of the government security forces in Nigeria. Therefore, no individual has the right to hold it or go with it. At the same time, Mr President do not have the right to declare shoot at sight. No, it is wrong. What the law says about this, because the law made it clear, nobody is a criminal not until after the pronouncement of a competent court of jurisdiction. And the people can still challenge it up to supreme court. Not until those people carrying Ak-47 are arrested and tried in court and sentence either to death, life imprisonment, it depends on the determination of the court not the determination of Mr. President. But I think Mr President is coming out very hasty because he had delayed over the years for him to come out to address this issue. And I want to tell you clearly, how many Nigerians heard this directly from Mr President? This is a pronouncement by his spokesmen purportedly said by Mr President. But either Mr. President pronounced it or his spokesperson pronounced, it I think it’s so hasty, it’s lawless. It’s lawlessness of the hightest order. Mr President of the federal republic of Nigeria has not gotten that power to declare shoot at sight. After his tenure anybody can charge him for genocide. He has taken laws into his hands.
Despite the shoot at sight order, killings and kidnapping still going on, why?
There’s some pronoucements that someone has to be cautious particularly presidential pronouncement because by the time Mr President dares these bandits, and the bandits dare Mr President and if the order of Mr President is not obeyed and those people still continued and at the end of the day, the activities of these people still overwhelmed the order of Mr President, Mr President will be ashamed for that. And when bandits defies the order of the father figure of the nation, it is a shame on the entire people of the country. Mr President shouldn’t have gone that far. Before you can do that you must be sure of the strength of the security apparatus in that environment. If you are not sure, how do you know if any member of these security apparatus are sympathetic to the course of these bandits? And by the time you made such pronouncement and the bandits continued with their activities, that is to say they dared Mr President. The president shouldn’t have been too hasty to give such a threat statement. It is a threat statement.
Sheik Gumi has been very much in the news over the controversial role he has been playing on the issue of bandits. How do you see this development?
Not long ago, the Archbishop of Sokoto division, Rev. Father Kukah made a pronouncement and people were threatening him. And at a time they even told him not to come to Sokoto environment again. A lot of Nigerians do not have opportunity to speak out the way some of us have the opportunity to speak out but these people that are not able to speak out,they are sad in their mind and a day is coming there will be an eruption from those people. Whenever we speak, we know that heaven and earth can bear us witness that we have spoken but they did not listen. What sheik Gumi is doing now is that he’s fronting for the bandits because he was the one comparing them with Niger-Delta militants. But there’s no comparison between the bandits and militants of Niger-Delta. The militants of Niger-Delta are agitators that were fighting for their rights because of the degredation of the land and environment of the Niger-Delta as a result of the economic development of the country. If government was able to satisfy them through amnesty, how will somebody be comparing them together. Those bandits are satanic, luciferic, they are demonic.
I expect Gumi to come out to tell the government to declare those people as terrorists. If nobody is talking for IPOB to say grant IPOB amensty, is IPOB criminals, they are fighting for their rights. But these people are not complaining of bad governance, they are not complaining of any other thing. But to me I see them as an extension of boko haram that they are using one stick to kill two birds. One, they kidnap for ransom, two they traumatize the parents and discouraged the children from going to school. After all that is the major ideology of the boko haram. If they are doing all these and Gumi is still going around to support and campaign for them, I think Gumi should be arrested instantly. He’s a serious suspect. They should arrest and charge him. But if you live him to continue to do this, before you know what is happening, the bandits they are happy because a prominent man is fighting for them. Just like the ak-47 governor of Bauchi state said that they have the right to carry ak-47. You now see contradictions at the highest level. One governor said they have the right to carry ak-47 and Mr President is now declaring a shoot at sight order on those who carry ak-47. That is to say, Bala Mohammed is not worthy to be a leader. Instantly, the house of assembly should impeach him. But it is so saddening that when he made that statement, nobody in the presidency condemn that statement. To me, if Bala Mohammed said that nothing happened, Gumi is going about saying his own nothing happened, then what are we talking about? Another person will emerge tomorrow. If a prominent person from the southwest had done that, the federal government would have arrested him and said he’s supporting a situation whereby Nigeria will disintegrate. If the government does nothing about this, before you know it some other personalities will come out to support IPOB in the east, somebody will come out to support OPC in the west, the avengers in the Niger-Delta before you know what is happening the situation will be uncontrollable. So I recommend Gumi should be cautioned by muslim leadership in Nigeria. If he refused to be cautioned, the federal government should arrest him as a suspect.
What is your take on the appointment of Bawa as EFCC chairman?
There’s a law on ‘Not too young to run, what was the age bracket to be governor, to be senator? Because, if you’re a senator, you are qualified to be Senate president. What is the age bracket to contest the house of reps and if you are a member of house of reps, you qualified to be speaker of house of reps. And the speaker of house of reps is bigger than the chairman of EFCC. The president of the Senate is bigger than the EFCC chairman. Is there any age bracket that one cannot be a minister? After all, the chairman of EFCC will still be reporting to the Minister of Justice. So, anybody above 30 can be appointed as Minister of Justice. That means the present EFCC chairman would have senior the Minister with ten years. So for me, I think anybody that think the guy is too young, I think the person is a fool. He’s too young but he graduated about 20 years ago, he has been in the civil service for over 16 years. What do they mean by he’s too young? So to me he’s not too young. At first, some people were looking at it that why must he be from the north again, but a lot of people do not reason and think well. When Obasanjo formed the EFCC, he carried someone from the northeast as the chairman, Obasanjo was not a nepotist that time. After that, Farida Waziri, I think from the north central became the chairman and still retained by Jonathan. But eventually Jonathan sacked her and when Jonathan sacked her, he appointed Lamorde so Jonathan from the south appointed someone from the north. That is to say, there are some positions in this world and to me I don’t believe in tribalism. I’m a nationalist, I believe in the federal republic of Nigeria and I believe in merit. Merit first. I don’t believe in favouritism. When we look at this guy Bawa, he has been in Rivers State as the chairman in Rivers State and Rivers State is one of the most sensitive and complex State in Nigeria. From there, he went to Lagos. Anybody that can be appointed to do anything in Lagos, a local government chairman in Ikeja is capable of ruling any other state in this country because of the population and sensitive of Lagos. So, if this guy has been sent to the economic nerve of Nigeria as EFCC chairman, I think he has that qualification, education and experience required. To me, this guy is qualified. He is a round peg in a round hole. If he can scale the hurdle of the senate screening I think he’s qualified. I wish him all the best.
The EFCC is now on the trail of Bola Tinubu and the impression is that his probe has to do with 2023 presidential election. As a member of the APC how do you see this development?
It is only in Nigeria that is why are getting things wrong all the time. We politicize everything, we ethnicize everything, we regionalize everything. Everything we must apply a particular sentiment to it. In Nigeria, there must be ethnic, religious, regional, tribal and political sentiments, we must at least attach it to everything to jeopardize the truth and transparent investigation. If the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said they want to dust the file of Bola Tinubu to begin investigation, so be it. Have they taken him immediately? Have they gotten him arrested? Have they put him under house arrest? Have they stopped him from travelling or having access to medical facilities? No!
To me, if the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of my area called on me and say Mr. Jackson, how are you and where are you? We want to search your house, we want to go and search because of some petition against you, the next thing I will do is to call my wife and tell her, please go to the house, allow the DPO to have access to my compound, just make sure they don’t have anything incriminating on them. I’m doing that because I know in my house I don’t have a cutlass, I don’t have more than kitchen knife.
Why do you think if the DPO call on me to give me this information, I will call the Commissioner of Police and say, CP, pls I’m outside the state now, when I come back I will see you, please prevail on your DPO not to enter my house, that means I have something incriminating in my house. That is it.
It is only in Nigeria that if they want to investigate you for a crime that you quickly run to court to stop them from investigating you, that is a signal that truly you have committed that offence.
If driving on the road, say from Rivers state to Osun, my own state, if they have 200 checkpoints, I will always tell my driver to allow the law enforcement agents do their work. If they want to check the engine, the boot, even if they want to remove the tyres, I will allow them to do their work. By the time I say no, you can’t search me, let me call the CP, let me call one of my friend, he is a DIG, that means I have something incriminating in that vehicle. When somebody wants to investigate you, if you know you have not done anything wrong, allow him to go ahead.
I heard Bola Tinubu some weeks ago saying he has not stolen any government fund in his life and that is an integrity that he is trying to maintain. There is what they call integrity test, if he has not stolen money in his life and the EFCC want to investigate him now, after investigation and they discovered he has not stolen any money in his life, Bola Tinubu’s popularity will increase. A lot of people who have been accusing him of enriching himself with Lagos state money will now be convinced that he is clean. That is it!
This is not a political vendetta, this is not a political attack or political victimization, it is just an integrity test, let them test him. They cannot just go and open an account today and say it’s Bola Tinubu that opened it, or buy a property today and claim it belongs to him, let them go and check all these. Bola Tinubu has worked in an oil, he was a governor of Lagos for eight years, we can figure and calculate what he must have gotten from all these, possibly what he has gotten from all these is within what he is spending today and they did not find him guilty, they should give him a national award. So, it is not a political victimization or vendetta. He is the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, how can the national leader of APC be victimized? After all, he has not come out to declare for 2023 presidency. There are some Yoruba leaders now moving up and down, they said they formed what they called TUAC. They are jobless Yoruba leaders, they said they want to make money from Bola Tinubu, they formed TUAC. Gbenga Daniel, Adeyeye and others, they are wasting their time.
Bola Tinubu has not told them he wants to contest. That is it. If he wants to contest let him contest, is he the owner of APC? Will he be the one that will vote for himself in the primaries? No!
Nobody is trying to jeopardize or victimize his presidential ambition. Let EFCC do their work and let Bola Tinubu too, surrender himself for investigation, whatever comes out of it, if he is found guilty, they should key in and seize all his properties and if he is free and he is corrupt free, let them give him a national award like Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, they can even give him GCFR to compensate him because of his having served in that capacity without stealing government money.
On the final note. Sole Soyinka came out to Nigeria can never work without restructuring, what is your take on this?
To me, I believed Nigeria should be restructured and at the same time, on a second thought, the problems we are facing today in Nigeria is not because of restructuring that we are facing it. Over the years, we have the problem of leadership deficient and ‘bigmentalism’ is the order of the day.
Just let me mention few things, when you check the civil service and all the presidential appointees and others, you will know if the thing is balanced or not. When you go to Lagos, Bola Tinubu they said wants to contest the presidency in 2023, the wife is a senator, the son-in-law, a member of the House of Representatives, the daughter is the Iyaloja of Lagos state. What are we talking about? All these things makes other families envious of them and that is exactly what goes on around the country today.
Some people from a section of the country will be sacked from government, only to be replaced by some people from other region of the country that is already highly favoured.
Look at the former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, that was sacked, he was replaced with somebody from the north. When former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun resigned her appointment, she was replaced by somebody from another region.