Dubai Houses: ‘Buratai’s “Clearance,” Slap on Corruption War’

As Army Chief says Boko Haram attacking him in cyberspace

By Chris Iwarah, Moshood Adebayo, Ndubuisi Orji, Molly Kilete, Godwin Tsa and Magnus Eze, Abuja

The Federal Government has given Buratai the all-clear over acquisition of some properties in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement by PRNigeria, yesterday, government said his offshore investments were based on capital market principles of “shareholding. The capital market principle that governed the property in issue, as it was found by investigators, was akin to having shares in companies instead of wholly owning the property.

“Government, after investigating a recent media report over the acquisition of property in Dubai, by General Buratai, discovered that he and his wives invested as “shareholders,” like many other persons in the property mentioned in the publications and were not sole owners. If you know the property being referred to, you would know that they are like quoted companies. You buy into them and get dividends as profit from your investments. You can also do your own private findings on this fact,” PRNigeria said.

Nigerians are, however, not buying government’s explanation. In separate interviews, they told Daily Sun that Buratai’s clearance is a slap on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

Femi Falana
Femi Falana

First to fire the salvo was Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, who slammed government for defending Buratai.

Falana said it was not the business of the army to speak on the allegations against Buratai.

He said since public office requires public trust, Buratai should submit himself to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the anti-graft agencies to clear his name.

“Buratai should willingly invite the CCB, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC to look into the matter. If Buratai was alleged to have unjustly purchased the houses, he has to come out to defend himself. He must show how the money used to purchase the houses was transferred.”

Another activist and an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Kayode Ajulo, queried why government hurriedly cleared Buratai without allowing for proper investigation.

“I subscribe to the constitutional provision that no one is guilty of an offence until proven to the contrary.  On that note, it is not my duty to declare Buratai guilty. However, it is unfortunate for the federal government to hurriedly give Buratai a clean bill. “In recent times, there were lots of probes involving his colleagues; some of them have been charged to court. But, it is curious that within 24 hours, the executive, which has so much on its hands, would hurriedly give him a clean bill.

“Governance should meet the ordinary eye of the public. By this action, it shows that there are two types of Nigerians, which is quite unfortunate. Due process of investigation should have been allowed to be done…”
In his own defence, Buratai told newsmen at a parley to celebrate the 2016 Nigerian Army Day Celebrations (NADCEL), in Abuja, yesterday, that the controversy over his property in Dubai is a sign that Boko- Haram members have taken over the cyberspace.

He said the terrorists, who have been completely dislodged from their strongholds in the North East, resorted to the cyberspace to carry out their attacks. To checkmate them, Buratai said the Nigerian Army has concluded plans to create its own cyberspace to give the terrorists a run  for their campaign of calumny.

He said the new strategy by the terrorists was to dampen the morale of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in order to continue with their brutal attacks on innocent Nigerians. “We have defeated them on the ground and we are developing our cyber warriors in the army and we will defeat them in the cyberspace where they have migrated to,” he said.

…It’s death knell to anti-graft war –Odumakin

Rights activist and Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin has said the clearance given the Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai  by the Federal Government over the purchase of two houses in Dubai, is a death knell to the anti-corruption war of the present administration.
Odumakin it is insulting to Nigerians for the army chief to  claim that he bought the houses with his savings.

“The entire  earnings of Buratai since he joined the army cannot  buy a  single house in Dubai, not to talk of two houses; even if he joined the army as a president and has not spent a kobo from his entire salary. It is a death knell to the anti-corruption war. To say that he is being cleared shows that there are scared cows in the fight against corruption and it exposes the entire anti-corruption war to ridicule,” Odumakin stated.