By: Mustapha Magaji
After perfecting every strategy to suppress Nigerian masses and rig the 2015 presidential election by all means (because they knew that so many atrocities that they needed to conceal have been committed) and spending billions from tax payers’ money, the defeated PDP’s erstwhile president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan desperately came to the likes of the former FCT Minister, Bala Muhammad, in view of the much that was committed to impose their principal on Nigerians.
While dreams and hopes were shattered and with the eagle eyes of the western countries on corrupt officials of the then outgoing regime, the burden of how to launder the stolen billions by the likes of Bala Muhammad, Labaran Maku, former Transport Minister, Idris etc became a Herculean task thus leaving them with the risky option of hiding their loot in various unexpected places including inside tunnels, sucker way, holes, farms, inside containers, specially prepared saves etc. But such cash are too much for an individual alone to carry and prepare where to hide them. The devil’s options of involving a second, third or even a fourth party or more therefore became a must necessity that must be done quickly to preserve the loot before the then president elect, Muhammadu Buhari, takes over.
The stolen wealth is too much that cannot be accommodated in any Nigerian bank without attracting the attention of anti corruption agencies. That was how Bala Muhammad’s in-law, Sadiq CK and his (Bala’s) three nephews, Abdulrashid, Garba Y.M and Baba Manu discovered one of the many places the ex-minister hides his loot. Sadiq CK and his three other colleagues have labored so much for Bala and his powerful wife, Hajia Lami, during the last six years of his uneventful tenure as the FCT minister but virtually got nothing in return despite the constant influx of cash that are being brought in a cash van to Bala’s houses almost every week while on the contrary Hajia Lami’s sons, Shamshuddeen, Ahmad and Abdullahi a.k.a DULAS are in possession of millions of naira in hard currency, living flambouyant and reckless lives and using an array of latest and expensive cars. So when the opportunity stroke, Sadiq CK and his three colleagues took maximum advantage of it but rather childishly. In this exclusive anonymous interview with one of them because he pleaded for anonymity, he reveals how they discovered over N3 billion in foreign currency in a Toyota Jeep in one of the many guest houses of the former minister and the inside story of what actually transpired. Excerpts:-
What actually happened on that fateful night?
As you people reported earlier it involves four of us and we are all very close to the former minister and his wife. In fact we are their blood. We were frustrated and couldn’t even afford decent clothes to wear and some of us that have families hardly feed them. It may surprise you to know that Bala’s children are not only our close relatives but good friends but we benefit nothing from any of them and their parents. We know some of the places he used to keep his money because on many occasions they used to bring it to him in our presence. Bala also has a lot of money hidden in the house of his elder brother, Alhaji Adamu Duguri Wakilin Bauchi. So we targeted the one he kept in a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep in his Wuse Zone 1 Bamako street guest house. He did a huge disguise as there are many cars then in the house and you will hardly notice which one contained the cash if you are not close insider. It was a 2015 Toyota Jeep and that particular car was parked carelessly in the house but we know what is inside and so we planned to get our own share since they will never give us anything no matter how much they have. (cuts in)
So how did you open the car?
We suspected it was a bullet proof car. We went through the glass of the back seat but couldn’t open it until we forced and broke the glass silently. We didn’t use any chemical to open the glass as your SMS Alert reported earlier. I was the one that first saw the content in the car when we finally broke the glass. Wallahi I nearly fainted because I have never seen that kind of money in my entire life. We cannot count the number of small bags we saw inside the car. All of them are filled with US dollars and Pound Sterling. So we just took 14 bundles of US dollars which is exactly 140 wrappers and when converted to naira it is equivalent to N308 million. We were confused and scared of what we saw because none of us ever stole a penny. It is not in our character. So out of fear we hurriedly left the scene and the car with a broken glass which was why it was discovered within few hours by the two police men in the house.
Did you know the name of the police officers on guard that discovered the glass of the Jeep was vandalized?
Yes, their names are Ibrahim and Benjamin. We understand later that they also took and hide some wrappers before they alerted the house keeper.
So what happen next? How did Bala discover that it was you people that vandalized the Jeep?
The police saw us when we came in and when we were going out so we are naturally the primary suspects. And instead of us to disappear all of us decided that one of us should remain in the house to monitor the aftermath of what will happen so that if there is no any alarm we will conclude that it is safe for us. So the three of us took 90% of the money we took from the Jeep and rushed from Abuja to Bauchi for safe keeping and left one of us. When Ibrahim and Benjamin eventually raised alarm our colleague was there and then apprehended by Bala’s security. Bala was in Saudi Arabia that time for the lesser Hajj and before he took action your paper exposed the matter in your SMS Alert. So he was so worried and decided to leave Saudi the following day. Bala was so afraid that he even told the security men to allow us with the cash because the revelation by DESERT HERALD had devastated him. But his elder brother Adamu Duguri whom we also know that he has been shortchanging Bala insisted that he must not allow us with such amount of money. And so they apprehended the three of us in Bauchi.
Who actually apprehended you?
It was not official. He used his escort commander to scare us. They even forced us to swear by the holy Qur’an. We were afraid and we didn’t. Instead we confessed that we indeed broke the car and took the money.
Did you people give them the money?
Yes we did. There was nothing we could do. They threatened us and we were afraid because we are not used to anything like that, arrest, interrogation etc. We first returned 8 out of the 14 bundles of the US dollars and then gave them additional 4 bundles when the threat and the pressure became unbearable. The remaining 2 bundles were earlier converted to naira and deposited in one of our friend’s bank account but under intense duress when they finally brought us to Abuja from Bauchi, Bala used his contacts after we revealed to him the bank the money was deposited and eventually everything was withdrawn leaving us with nothing and a tarnished image. The money that was withdrawn was later deposited in an account Hajia Lami was using (cuts in)
What is the nature of the account?
It’s an NGO account by named Al-Muhibbat Foundation. She is the only authorized signatory to that account. Al-Muhibbat was registered in the name of her children.
Is it true that the SSS has finally invited you to Abuja for questioning regarding the matter?
Yes they did and I think it was motivated by the DESERT HERALD revelation. We were there last week Friday but we were not arrested and they (SSS) treated us very well.
What actually happened at the SSS headquarters?
I am not suppose to reveal it here but all I can tell you is that before we went Bala has tried desperately to reach out to us. He even called us severally before we reached Abuja from Bauchi but we know that he wanted to implicate us, to force us to lie and to exonerate himself. The SSS people warned us not to lie to them when we reached there. They said they have all the details of what actually happened. So we told them the truth of exactly what happened and we put same into writing. But please don’t quote me because even now Nigerians should know that our lives are in danger. Bala is bragging that the SSS cannot do anything to him because he has bought over the investigation and that the matter will die a natural death.
Thank you very much for your insight.