It is sad that I have read a statement by the northern elders, that is the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), whereby with all the killings, kidnappings, unceasing violence in Katsina, parts of Sokoto, Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger and with all the attacks by the insurgents, all the windows, and orphans produced by this violence, the elites from the north, under the ACF, can be saying what they are saying and for the President to also support the continuation of the service chiefs.
“In fact, the governors of the northern part of Nigeria that have faced more crisis and violence are supposed to have set up a security outfit that would address the security challenges in the north even before the Southwest came up with Amotekun”.
States such as Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna should emulate the Southwest governors and set up a security outfit that would protect their own citizens in the face of the federal government’s failure. I can tell you that what most people say privately about the failure of government and insecurity in Nigeria is different from what they would say publicly.
The security crisis in the country has gone beyond the states; the bandits, criminals, and kidnappers are operating beyond the borders of one state. If any state wants to set up security outfit within its own province, it cannot work, because the bandits move from state to state and until you have a regional security network aimed at gathering intelligence reports and working in tandem with the national security architecture, we cannot find a solution to this problem.
In fact, Amotekun should be subsidised by the federal government, because they are doing the job of the federal government. Amotekun is not different from the state governors who decide to renovate federal roads or who decide to use the resources of the states to do what the federal government is supposed to do. If anyone of them decides to renovate any building belonging to the federal government, will the federal government come and say it is unconstitutional?
We should understand that the federal government has failed to protect the lives and property of its citizens in Nigeria. The security and government have failed to understand the realities of our security challenges.
Nobody should oppose Amotekun and nobody should sit on the fence and criticise it. Amotekun is a reinforcement of our security needs as a country today and I believe whatever we can do to save the lives of the citizens should be worth doing. If the Police, Army and other security agencies of government were living up to their responsibilities, nobody would think of setting up any security network.
How many of those opposing Amotekun have taken their time to go out and condole the families of those victims? How many of them have supported the widows and widowers, how many of them have even written statements to show sympathy for what has been happening in that part of the country?
I think the President and the entire country should commend leaders of the Southwest for using their resources to do what the federal government should have been doing.
Looking at the way the Federal Government has handled the security problems bedeviling the country, would you say it has the capability to face the insurgents, kidnappers and other criminal gangs and tackle the menace frontally?
The President, as the chief security of the country, it is the primary responsibility of his government to restore law and order. This is what they promised us when they came to office, to end the violence and killings.
But we have seen the escalation of the situation since they came into office, which means the government, has failed. The government has failed to protect the citizens and the territorial integrity of this country.
Even efforts made, in terms of peace talks with them, have failed, because first of all, they are amorphous. Besides, banditry is about criminality. Indeed, most of the talks going on with the bandits can only be sustained only if they would be given money.
The people have evacuated most of the villages in the northwestern states. IDP camps are all over. For how long can people continue to tolerate a government that has failed and it’s security agencies that have also failed the public?
So, it is in order for Nigerians to show their objection, to criticise and even to protest against insecurity in our land.
After your arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), you spent 30 days in detention. How was your experience?
On December 31, last year, I honoured an invitation by the EFCC to come and clear myself over alleged extortion. I respectfully and humbly honoured that invitation.
I was asked questions by the detectives with regards to the petition written by my purported accuser that he gave me the sum of $24,000 to give the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) $14,000 and the EFCC chairman $10,000.
Within the period of my detention, I was frequently taken out for interrogation and record taking. The first they did was to go and search my houses and my offices in Abuja. I wondered what that has to do with a complaint of alleged extortion.
The second thing they did was to freeze all my accounts, followed by trying to take me to their biometric lab, where they wanted to profile me as a criminal, give me a billboard to hold so that they can post the photographs on their social media.
I later realised that that was a well-scripted drama and agenda to persecute me, because ordinarily, a man who had confessed to have given bribe is supposed to have also been prosecuted. But they were not prepared to do that. I remained in the EFCC cell until I got my bail and the processes for my bail were perfected. I was later released from detention.
But this time around, they came through the EFCC and the most unfortunate thing is that while I was still in detention, the EFCC’s media spokesperson kept planting stories to rubbish my name, assassinate my character and misinformed the public about my person.
That has always been their style; where their suspects are kept incommunicado, away from the public eyes and denied them the opportunity to defend themselves or narrate their own side of the story.
They also confronted me with a doctored, manipulated tape, which they said I was the one who was speaking with my accuser. In the whole of the audio, luckily, there is nowhere where anyone said I was given money. When I listened to the audio, it bordered on my political discussion, where I was appealing for support, and they used that as part of their own evidence.
Also, there was an aspect where I said I was to go to Germany for medical checkup, as well as where I said I was going to pay for an advance for the car I was trying to purchase from my accuser, $25,000. All the allegations they are making against me are wild, unfounded and baseless and simply arranged to silence me.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said he has a list of 10 people jostling for the 2023 governorship ticket and that he would prefer to hand over to a woman. What is your take on this?
I am not of the APC and I believe that the governor’s 10 people should be of the APC. I don’t know who they are and I don’t know what they are all about.
Secondly, if we are talking about free, fair and credible election in 2023, we shouldn’t have leaders saying this is the person they would hand over to. When leaders say they will hand over to A, B or C, it shows to people that the electorate are of no value as far as election is concerned. It is their decision that would count.
Many of those who voted for those in the office today are regretting to have wasted their votes, from the President down to the last position. People in the north mostly voted on sentiment and security forces were perceived to have been used to suppress voters and manipulate the voting process. And INEC did not help matters in the sense that most of their facilities have fallen out of standard.
So, leaders who believe in free and fair elections would not make statements on who they would hand over to. It is the legitimate rights of Nigerians to seek any position they want to seek in the election. But I think we have gotten into politics so early, and most likely from now to 2023, rather than concentrate on issues of development and dividends of democracy.