Burj Al Buratai: Buhari's General Headache
Just returning from a needed medical vacation cum rest in London for a 'troubling' earache brought on by an infection, President Buhari had barely settled in than a latest scandal relating to his top Army General broke the media waves.
Buhari's select Army Chief who restored the Nigerian army's fighting capacity to its pre-Jonathan reputation, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai was revealed to have acquired $1.5 million in personal properties in Dubai between 2014 and 2015, at the height of the prior era of cataclysmic army funds diversions the Buhari government was given its victory to curb.
SaharaReporters revealed that the Army General, then a Major General on a salary of less than $3,500/month, purchased properties of $419,826 and another of over a million dollars with payments made in wholesome chunks which earned him purchase incentives. The damning reports implicated a fellow Major General Emmanuel G. Adegbola who was allegedly used as Buratai's middleman in the lodging of massive deposits in Skye bank accounts to pay for the tasty Dubai properties.
Multimillion dollar estates and farms were also exposed to be owned by the Army Chief who has been accused of being part and parcel of the very problem Buhari was handed his victory to dismember. While surprisingly denied by the Nigerian army, being subverted into an instrument that defends its leaders of their personal and political issues, facts have shown that then Major General Buratai was appointed the head of Procurement of Defence Head Quarters. He was a prized member of the Dasuki-Jonathan-Badeh-Gusau corrupt military machine that looted billions of dollars in funds meant to fight Boko Haram. His promotions and silence while his backyard was being destroyed by Boko Haram suddenly seems to have a fat explanation.
What a headache for Buhari!
This would not be the first scandal Buhari has had to contend with that the army chief has been tagged in and accused of. Nigeria's reputation and that of Nigeria's new President has been severely washed in the mud by the public tale of General Buratai's various massacres across the country.
Recently, President Buhari had to look down when an Al Jazeera reporter attempted to show him a video of the Nigerian army under Buratai's command firing and killing innocent and unarmed pro-Biafran protesters in Aba at a prayer session. Unarmed pro-Biafrans have been massacred by the army continuously since according to local media and global non governmental reports .
The Nigerian army and President have been sued at the ECOWAS court by Nigeria's foremost civil rights lawyer and a strong campaigner of Buhari and his "change" administration, SAN Attorney Femi Falana for the various massacres perpetuated by General Buratai in Ogoni land, Delta state, Zaria, Aba and others in just the space of one year.
Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and other international organisations have put Nigeria on the spot for these various massacres with public evidence of mass killings, torture an even satellite and witness testimony of perhaps the worst government-perpetrated human tragedy in recent global history: the massacre of as many as 1000 unarmed minority Muslims in Nigeria's Kaduna state last December with the secret burial of at least 350 of these victims (as admitted by the Kaduna state government), with many not medically confirmed dead, in a mass grave at Mando in Zaria .
The Army General is yet to publicly defend himself of the latest allegations against his person and continues to divert the military official apparatus, unconstitutionally engaging its official spokespersons to defend him of his personal troubles. Tested defenses have varied from "his wives did it" to "it's shared property and not his own alone." The accused General has surprisingly labelled the media and activists that exposed these allegations of gross corruption as "terrorists" promising to unleash a sponsored "cyber army" against them. It won't be the first time security agencies of the state during the current administration have been accused of sponsoring cyber-warriors to attack activists over damning reports of agency corruption or murder.
The world waits to see how President Muhammadu Buhari will address this rather nagging, disturbing and highly embarrassing headache that threatens to perhaps be the worst kafkaesque to Buhari's reputation and future legacy..
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian