Quote me anywhere, Dasuki has not done anything like that. It is absolutely untrue [underlining mine].. It is the figment of the imagination of the authors aimed at creating falsehood for reasons best known to them and Nigerians should disregard them.”
Mr A. Raji, SAN, Dasuki’s lawyer.
Seldom has a front page report written by a veteran journalist, like Yusuf Alli, been so quickly disclaimed by a party close to the matter as this one. Of the two disputants, Alli and Raji, Alli has the uphill task because he must not only defend himself on the charges made by Raji that he had caused his paper to publish falsehood, he must defend the profession of journalism as well. In a matter such as this one, involving the Federal Government, now under the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Dasuki, Nigerians want to be told the truth and nothing but the truth. There should be no government propaganda served as news, nor media trial of suspects. The facts must speak for themselves.
At the moment certain facts have placed Alli in the defenders position on this matter. The NATION, for which he writes, is not neutral on this matter and cannot be relied upon to be objective. It is the APC’s paper and there is no need to pretend about that. I have subscribed to the paper everyday from the first publication because it provided the balance to the ruling party’s attempt to feed us with lies. I remain an unrepentant disciple of I.F Stone who said that “Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed”. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 80). I remain to be convinced that a change has come. With APC in government and power, the NATION has been transformed to the government’s paper. As far as I am concerned it is difficult to regard anybody serving on the paper as objective since the owners have an interest in the outcome of every matter that has a political overtone. That is one reason why everything written in it that is destructive of the interests of anybody not in APC has to be examined critically – irrespective of the writer.
Lawyer Raji had called Alli a journalist a liar. Alli must respond. While lawyers are under no obligation to utter the truth, journalists worldwide operate under the same code of conduct – FACTS ARE SACRED; COMMENTS ARE FREE. Alli cannot take shelter under the excuse of “protecting sources” when Raji is claiming that the journalist is guilty of defamation of Dasuki and engaging in media trial. Alli was not running commentary; he was writing a report. He would have violated the first principle of journalism if anything in that report is untrue. Neither can he claim he was seeking justice. The media gets the facts and lets the judiciary determine what is just. And the general public also must have the facts; but, it better be done without media mob rule encouraged by jaundiced reporting.
Dasuki’s matter presents us with one of those cases which test our credentials as democrats and fighters for justice to the limit. Already some lawyers formerly believed to be strongly in support of human rights have also changed their tunes. Recent appointments and the pronouncements of some of the lawyers have revived the feeling that they have been seeking public office all along. “Machiavellism”, the end justifies the means, seems rampant these days. So, in our haste to “deal with” some people everything including unsubstantiated allegations about the accused is reported as fact for consumption by the gullible.
Dasuki, as we all know, has served the previous government and he had been involved in a personal matter with the present President in the past. Although, Buhari had pronounced that he harbours no ill-feelings, some of his aides in government might not be so generous. Indeed they might consider that they are doing him a favour by helping to settle scores. They might jeopardize the cases by doing shoddy jobs of investigation and allowing the accused persons, even if guilty, to get away on account of their mistakes.
One such mistake might have been inadvertently revealed in the report by Alli. Even if true, the report had alerted several individuals who might be implicated that they should run as fast as they can away from Nigeria. Thereafter, the cases will take ten times longer to be prosecuted as the Federal government will find itself fighting several cases for extradition of wanted individuals. Buhari would have been out of office.
Meanwhile, it is curious that several individuals who should be called in by the original investigators and the EFCC had not been invited. Since the investigation was supposed to cover 2007 to 2015, then one would have expected the Ministers of Finance, Defence, the NSAs, as well as the three Governors of the Central Bank (Soludo, Sanusi and Emefelue) should have been asked to shed light on how and why such huge amounts of public funds were moved out on the orders of Dasuki. Are my Fellow Countrymen (as Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, said about Britons “mostly fools”) supposed to believe that the National Security Adviser, NSA, can drive trailers to the Central Bank and order the CBN Governor to load US$2 billion and it would be done – no questions asked? Are we to believe that none of the CBN Governors called Yar’Adua and Jonathan to ask if they should request for a straight jacket for a lunatic called NSA? Were the withdrawals authorized and who did it? Was Okonjo-Iweala aware that so much money was being taken from the CBN and did she raise an alarm? If the NSA can so easily hijack US$2bn maybe Abuja has become one great lunatic asylum…