Before winning the 2015 election, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari He had a strong reputation as a no-nonsense retired military general who did not tolerate corruption and would use personal example to influence the public service ethically.
In many speeches, Mr. Buhari repeatedly said that he would incinerate corruption, Nigeria’s grave disease.
Therefore, in 2015, many Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief when he won the election and were hopeful that the president would be able to tackle the scourge of corruption in the West African nation.
After more than seven years in office, Nigerians are struggling to reconcile the president’s actions and perceived anti-corruption credentials.
Mr. Buhari has not made much ethical impact on the system by force of personal example and political will. He has continued to make political alignments, both with people accused and prosecuted or being investigated by anti-graft agencies for corruption.
The Nigerian leader recently conferred the national award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) on the tainted North West governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu.
Mr. Bagudu, 60, received the national award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Nigerian state, alongside other honorees including UN No. 2 Amina Mohammed and WTO chief Okonjo Iweala in October.
A former senator, Mr. Bagudu has long been known as the suitor of the late infamous military dictator, Sani Abacha.
Mr. Abacha, who died in 1998, was a ruthless kleptocrat who, along with his family and associates like Mr. Bagudu, stole billions of dollars from the country’s coffers. Since 1998, Nigeria has recovered at least $3.6 billion in Abacha’s loot after a complicated international manhunt.
PREMIUM TIMES notify That it was Mr. Bagudu the gas that powered it Mr. Abacha’s extensive theft and money laundering operations.
Despite Mr Bagudu’s alleged admission of financial irregularities since 2003, when he agreed to return about $163 million to Nigeria to avoid extradition from the US to Jersey, Mr Buhari awarded the governor one of the highest honors on earth.
The national honor is intended to serve as a celebration and recognition of the value of citizens and residents to the nation and the nation’s service.
The President has honored 447 individuals with awards this year and the recipients include some of Nigeria’s outstanding minds, including technology innovators, top technocrats, public servants, entrepreneurs, athletes and world-renowned music superstars.
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Apart from Mr. Bagudu, Mr. Buhari also honored his close allies such as his personal aide, Sabiu Yusuf; his media aide, Femi Adesina; his assistant in domestic affairs, Sarki Abba; his personal physician, Sanusi Rafindadi; Head of State House protocol, Lawal Kazaure; State House administrative officer, Abubakar Maikano; his brother-in-law, the emir of Bichi, Nasir Bayero; and his nephew Mamman Daura, among others.
“It was a practice of nepotism and state-sanctioned middle finger pretensions to Nigerians.” wrote Gimba Kakandacolumnist and public affairs analyst.
“The appointment of aides and ministers to the President, especially the unanimously approved bad ones, echoes the past debate on the propriety of honoring serving public servants, and the wisdom of doing so years after their service to the nation,” Mr Kakanda wrote.
We have a man
Mr. Bagudu is an ally of the president and also chairs an All Progressive Congress governors’ forum. In June, he oversaw the selection of Bola Tinubu as the presidential candidate for the next February general election.
He is also a key player in Mr. Tinubu’s presidential campaign council.
US and UK prosecutors detailed how Mr Bagudu, working with some of his family members and Mohammed, Abacha’s eldest son, used an intricate web of shell companies to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from the government treasury to offshore bank accounts. he controlled
Mr. Bagudu’s money laundering operations on behalf of Mr. Abacha are well documented in lawsuits filed in the United States of America and in the Bailiwick of Jersey, a British Crown dependency of the Channel Islands.
The governor was once arrested for his role in the Abacha money laundering enterprise and spent six months in US federal custody.
Mr. Bagudu reached an agreement with the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2003. The deal allowed Mr. Bagudu to repay $163 million to the Nigerian government in exchange for dropping all civil and criminal claims against him, according to court filings.
He was released on bail in Nigeria where he was to stand trial for money laundering. However, on his return to Nigeria, he was not interrogated. Instead, he was allowed to run in three separate election cycles – one as senator and two as governor – and won all of them.
Between the year 1998, when Mr. Abacha died suddenly, and the year 2020, about 3.6 billion dollars have been recovered from the Abacha family and Mr. Bagudu. Latest Recovery – 23.5 million United Kingdom dollars lost by Mohammed Abacha and Mr. Bagudu, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
Previously, $308 million was recovered from Jersey in 2020 – money laundered by Mr Bagudu.
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