“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”. This is the law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels, who was a German Nazi politician that was the Gauleiter of Berlin, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945.
In psychology, there is something with similar ambition, known as the “illusion of truth” effect, which is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure. And I think, with what is happening in Nigeria today, which has bearings with Bafarawa, the former governor of Sakwato state, particularly the speed and frequency of the mentioning of his name in connection with banditry, methinks the quote is aptly appropriate, in lending credence to the speculations that a nexus exits, between the boom in banditry, and Bafarawa’s bond with the black market business in Nigeria.
Ironically, the same Bafarawa was once appointed as the “contractor in chief”, for the procurement of prayer warriors to end insurgency in Nigeria.
Let me take the reader backward, to sometimes in 2015, in the early months of the coming of the Buhari administration, by narrating what happened, and see how things can be juxtaposed through the prism of recent events.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accused the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, the former minister of state for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, and a former director of finance at the office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, of stealing N5.05 billion between April 14, 2014 and May 7, 2015.
Also accused by the EFCC were the former governor of Sakwato state, Attahiru Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Bafarawa, and their company, Dalhatu Investment Limited, of receiving stolen property amounting to N4.633 billion from the office of the National Security Adviser.
They were all arraigned before Justice Peter Affen of the High Court of the Federal Capital territory Abuja, where they pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Bafarawa and his son, Sagir, as well as their company, Dalhatu Investment, were also charged with collecting N3.350 billion from the former NSA, “knowing the said sum to be stolen property but purporting same to be payment for the supply of security equipment”.
The duo of Dasuki and Salisu were additionally accused of transferring another N500 million from the account of the NSA with Skye Bank, to the account of Dalhatu Investment Limited with UBA, on December 20: 2014, “purporting same to be payment for the supply of security equipment”.
All the monies were allegedly used for the procurement of arms to end the insurgency, while according to EFCC investigations, N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency, mostly through Attahiru Bafarawa, the Corporate Affairs Commission registered specialist, in the purchase of prayer warriors for Nigeria.
Few weeks back, the police arrested one Musa Karmawa, who narrated how armed bandits operated in the Zamfara-Sakwato axis and his involvement and association with the most wanted notorious leader of the armed bandits, Bello Turji, the guy responsible for all the dreadful attacks in the area. Musa Karmawa is the nephew to Attahiru Bafarawa.
Again yesterday, the Special Tactical Squad from the office of the Inspector General of Police, announced the arrest of the eldest son of the same Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, by name Sagir Attahiru Bafarawa, alongside a serving Commissioner in the Sakwato State Government, in connection with the ongoing investigations of Musa Kamarawa, over his alleged involvement in armed banditry.
Sagir Bafarawa and Musa Karmawa are cousins, or the two are son and nephew to Attahiru Bafarawa, respectively.
Insider information has confirmed that, since his arrest, Musa Karmawa has been revealing his involvement in different crimes, including kidnapping, cattle rustling, collection of ransom, armed banditry, unlawful possession of firearms, procurement, and sales of firearms and trading in illicit drugs, as well as the supply of foodstuffs to the bandits.
It may be recalled that, in the dying days of the PDP, the then National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, said the escalation of insecurity in the country, particularly the rampaging activities of the dreaded extremist sect, Boko Haram, is traceable to some undemocratic practices by the political parties during elections, especially the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Although Azazi did not mention names, he named the party- PDP, the party in which Attahiru Bafarawa aspired to become the Presidential flag bearer for the 2019 elections, and one he says he would not leave even if he loses the primary election. “I will remain in the PDP even if I do not emerge its presidential flag bearer”- Bafarawa.
Indeed Bafarawa is still in the party, but as what or doing what?
In an interview with the BBC, Bafarawa castigated President Muhammadu Buhari for not visiting the people of Sakwato state to condole with them after an attack in which bandits burnt travellers to death, faulting the President for failing to address the growing insecurity and killings in Sakwato, Zamfara and Katsina States, because, according to him, PMB does not value the lives of the people that elected him.
Much as one can not conclude before the conclusion of police investigations, but in the light of recent events, particularly Bafarawa’s penchant for beating about the bush, by always blaming Buhari on the issue of insecurity, alongside his resolve to remain in PDP come what may, vis a vis Azazi’s postulation and the recent arrests of his blood relations on the same subject, one may be swayed by the balance of probability, to believe that, there may be a link between Bafarawa and the booming business of banditry in northern Nigeria.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja