Leaders of the North have stated that they will not intervene in the ongoing trial of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), and other alleged accomplices in the ongoing probe into an arms procurement scandal.
The leaders, under the auspices of the Northern Elders’ Forum, the Northern Elders’ Council and the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, dismissed reports that a section of leaders in the North were seeking a soft landing for the suspects in the arms deal probe, most of whom are northerners.
They asked the Federal Government to recover all stolen funds and prosecute all looters.
Speaking to Sunday Punch on the trials, the Secretary of the NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said both the forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum, had jointly stated that the anti-graft war must continue.
Abdullahi said the NEF and the ACF had stated “emphatically” that the anti-corruption war must be fought to its logical conclusion and all stolen monies must be recovered.
He said, “The ACF and the NEF are very clear that this war against corruption must continue. All stolen money must be recovered, whether the thief is from Rivers, Lagos, Zaria, Sokoto or Bornu.”
He stated that the forum was against plea bargain for the suspects. He noted that the option of plea bargain could only come when the suspect had pleaded guilty in court adding that those who had been arraigned so far had pleaded not guilty.
Abdullahi said “There should be no question of returning some of the money; they should return all the money in their possession.”
The NEF scribe denied knowledge of northern leaders making moves to intervene in the probe. He said, “I am not part of the group seeking soft landing for them, if there is any. I am not also aware of any other group on this cause.”
Also, Convener of the CNPAPB, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, stated that the law is no respecter of zones, religious or ethnic identities. He said despite that Buhari is a northerner, he should not accept to bend the law.
He said, “There is no sympathy for the Dasuki man. There is no plan that I know of by any person of significance; other than perhaps, some rogues to engineer a so-called soft landing for Dasuki or any one of them.
“Some of them who have access to the media are trying to bait the country with red herring that there is a plan to give some of them a soft landing because the majority of them are northerners. If everyone of them is a northerner, so what? Essentially who is a northerner and what makes a northerner above the law?
“If these people have committed a crime, as far as I am concerned, they should be charged and sentenced according to the severity of their crimes period.
“I want to confirm to you that there is absolutely no sympathy for them in the north, I am a northerner, I have always been a northerner; and I challenge anybody who thinks otherwise to tell me where the sympathy is coming from.
“Every community in this country has lost somebody in the course of this insurgency by Boko Haram and now it is becoming clearer that the money meant to equip and train our soldiers to fight Boko Haram was used as a conduit to siphon money and bribe Nigerians to vote to Goodluck Jonathan.”
Mohammed noted that while it appeared that more northerners had been named in the Dasuki trial, the situation would change when it is the turn of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency as well as other agencies and ministries.
“Crime has consequences. If one commits a crime against the state and the people of a country, one must be prepared to live with the consequences,” he stated.