The Muhammadu Buhari administration has started making good its pledge to probe the big-time financial transactions of the previous administration with the on-going investigation of arms deals between 2007 and May 29th 2015. Already, a 13-man committee constituted to examine the transactions has unearthed what it described as large-scale scams totalling N643.817 billion and $2.193 billion after a preliminary inquiry.
These sums are mind boggling, and no responsible and accountable government will fail to bring in all those connected with the deals to say what they know about them.
Already, the administration, which had put the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col Sambo Dasuki under arrest, has reportedly caused the security agencies to arrest a number of former service chiefs, some officials of the former President Goodluck Jonathan regime and some prominent businessmen into custody.
We strongly believe that anyone or group of persons entrusted with the power and duties of public office must stand ready, at any time, to give account whenever the need arises. To this end, we are in full support of this and other probes that may follow in the days ahead.
This is more so because the nation suffered heavy losses as a result of alleged lack of relevant military equipment to suppress the Boko Haram insurgency, which started like a joke and blew up within months to become a major threat to the nation and the West Africa sub-region.
We lost thousands of innocent citizens, including our gallant and heroic soldiers, policemen and other security personnel. Schools, hospitals and communities were destroyed and defenceless men, women, girls, children and the aged abducted by the terrorists. We lost a large tranche of territories, which are just now being recovered through military operations. Indeed the losses are unquantifiable.
If it is established that people given the sacred duty of spending public funds to protect the nation and its people actually diverted some or all of the funds to private uses, then the culprits must be brought to face the full weight of the law and proceeds of their criminal activities recovered. This should be the beginning of the conscious culture of putting public officers and their collaborators on notice that no one can toy with the vital interests of the nation and get away with it.
However, because of these probes and prosecutions have the potential to be politicised both by elements in government and their opponents, we insist on full disclosure of all facts to the public, and the transparent, due process conduct of all probes and trials.
If the involvement of the media, civil society and international stakeholders as observers will ensure a total depoliticisation of the process, then so be it.