“We live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favorite blood sport. It has long been the basis of political campaign strategy. It is the theme of much television programming across the world. It sells newspapers. Whenever we meet anyone, our first, almost unconscious reaction may be to look for imperfections”.
By Henry B. Eyring.
This piece is borne of patriotism and the zeal to correct an obvious notorious attacks targeted at rubbishing a reputable personality who for the better part of his involvement in the Nigeria Army was never found wanting for any kind of misdemeanours.
He is the first ever former Chief of Army Staff to go on to get another globally recognised appointment as the Ambassador of Nigeria to another sovereign state in the person of retired Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai the Ambassador of Nigeria to Benin Republic. Even as Ambassador he was wrongly accused of seeking to kill Sunday Igboho the Yoruba nation agitator who was arrested and detained by the government of the Sovereign nation of Benin Republic.
He, Sunday Igboho has been freed by his captors and the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic who has nothing to do with local cases within the jurisdiction of another sovereign state is vindicated. He has faced many challenges but he has always come out victorious and even for some of us in the credible Civil society groups who don’t relate with him then and now, we are left dumbfounded that this statesman is being subjected to these harassment only because he has served Nigeria well as an Army officer of the finest texture.
Even whilst in service as the Army chief, many adversarial publications were unleashed by enemies who are diminished by the monumental volume of concrete achievements and milestones that he made as the head of the largest Army in Afruca and one of the most professional fighting force in the World.
And of course these enemies of public good are actually top placed public office holders who feel that the towering persona and stature of General Buratai poses a threat to them which is a misconception given that General Buratai is such a great officer of the Army who focused totally on his career and gave his best to the Army- a testament that was made by his then immediate successor who unfortunately died on a plane disaster not long ago in service and in his home State of Kaduna.
The then new Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who as it was then was taking over the mantle of leadership of the Nigerian Army in an elaborate handing over ceremony by his predecessor, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had then about a year and half ago announced the appointment of Attahiru alongside other service chiefs.
NAN reports that in line with the Nigerian Army tradition, the outgone army chief decorated his successor with the insignia of the office and handed the play of office to him.
As reported, the outgone Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Buratai, while handing over the mantle of leadership, thanked God for a successful service to the nation and Buhari for finding him worthy.
He urged the new army chief to ensure that the Nigerian Army remained professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional duties.
Buratai said that the army on his watch had ensured that democracy was supported and protected, urging his successor to ensure that the army continued to be loyal and professional.
He also urged Attahiru to remember him for improved professionalism of the Nigerian Army, improved responsiveness of the army in the area training administration and logistics needs of the army and responsiveness to Nigeria’s democratic imperativeness.
“I Am proud to say that Nigerian Army has transformed to become a professionally responsive in the defence of democracy with utmost loyalty.
“Today, we have a professionally response army and we have achieved a lot in many areas over the years as well as interagency cooperation.
He commended the principal staff officers, corps commanders, commandant and directors for their cooperation during his time as the army chief.
He also appreciated all the troops serving in all operations both home and abroad, most especially the operation Lafiya Dole, Sahel Sanity, and Delta Safe, among others.
Buratai said as a COAS, he was proud to have defended the nation’s democracy and called on officers and men of the Nigerian Army to make it their duty to defend and protect democracy.
It is important to take note of what was said when responding, the thennew COAS who is now late, pledged to sustain the giant stride of Nigerian Army under Buratai, adding that he considered himself lucky to have been given opportunity to succeed Buratai.
THIS TESTIMONY OF A MAN GENERAL TUKUR BURATAI MADE BY HIS SUCCESSOR WHOM HE WAS NEVER PRIVY TO HIS APPOINTMENT STANDS OUT AS A REMARKABLE EVIDENCE THAT THE RETIRED ARMY CHIEF LEFT A CLEAN RECORD AS COAS.
How come then that adversarial publications are springing up from time to time about particular sets of unsubstantiated allegations of financial malfeasance in which General Buratai was investigated and cleared?
Just read what actually transpired just before Buratai retired.
The Chief of Policy and Plans, who is of same military rank with Buratai, Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, said the former CoAS came, saw and conquered, adding that working with Buratai was a rewarding experience.
Adeosun, while extolling the virtues of Buratai, said that he had achieved so much for Nigerian Army in terms of operational efficiency, personnel welfare and establishment of new units and formations.
He said that the army under Buratai had also progressed well in the area of research and development, especially in the area of manufacturing of hardware locally.
He expressed the confidence that the new army chief had what it would take to carry on with the big show left by his predecessor.
Adeosun commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a worthy successor in the person of Gen. Attahiru and congratulated Buratai for successful bowing out of service after years of meritorious service to the nation.
So it is not surprising that another DEAD ON ARRIVAL ATTEMT AT SMEARING THE GOOD NAME OF GENERAL BURATAI HAS JUST SURFACED IN A SECTION OF AN ONLINE NEWSPAPER. As God would have it, the lawyers of the General have responded.
This is against the backdrops that the Federal Government had investigated and cleared the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai over his assets and military acquisitions just as the nature of his offshore investments has been shown to be based on capital market principles of shareholding.
The capital market principle that governed the properties in issue, as it was found by investigators, was akin to having shares in companies instead of wholly owning the properties.
The government, after investigating a recent media report over the acquisition of properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by General Buratai, discovered that he and his wives invested as “shareholders” like many other persons in the properties mentioned in the publications and were not the sole owners.
“If you know the properties 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”, a competent source told PRNigeria.
An intelligence military officer involved in the investigation also confirmed that apart from declaring the assets as required by law, “the Dubai property is real estate investment tailored to operate on capital market principles of shares for dividends and profits as proceeds from investment rather than total ownership of the property.”
The source further disclosed that Lt. Gen. Buratai who was cleared whilst in service had been into farming since he was a major.
“The large scale farm produces grains, cassavas, millets and also has fish pond apart from variety of animal and reptile that provides specialised nutrients and medicament for different clients.
“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) under Fifth Schedule Part 1- permits a public officer to engage in farming,” the officer said.
While Defence Minister, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali has come out publicly to disclose that the Army Chief did not hide the properties, as he declared them on more than one occasion to both the Nigerian Army and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), other investigations further buttressed the transparency in all the deals.
PRNigeria gathered that Lt-Gen. Buratai had declared his assets as Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and as Chief of Army Staff to the Code of Conduct Bureau where all the assets were disclosed.
It was also gathered that his two wives have been operating a quasi-micro finance social intervention scheme called ‘Sana’armu’ which means “our collective enterprise,” where they earn profits from soft-loan businesses that also help budding entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
While it was discovered that General Buratai did not operate any Skye Bank account as alleged in the recent media report, the special rugged vehicles that were procured for counter-insurgency campaigns were found to be brand new.
The officer said: “The rugged buffalo vehicles are not only brand new but they are 2014 model that were imported from Libya rather than from Niger as alleged.”
While there are suspicions that some officers affected in recent changes may be involved in the smear campaign against COAS, PRNigeria was reliably told that General Buratai has been more focused on the war on terror campaigns than engaging in the politics of witch-hunting anyone.
The officer said that “General Buratai has taken personal efforts to ensure that innocent officers are not unduly sanctioned and had suggested retirement rather than dismissal on some of the offences to protect the image of the military.
“In fact that was the reason he always guards against disclosure of the identities of affected officers to avoid stigmatisation.
“Even though many officers and friends are disturbed about recent campaigns against him, General Buratai has remained calm leaving everything to God,” the source added.
So why do some haters of good reputation seeking to damage a good reputation of a great man who gave his best to his Country in the Army and is still doing great job for the Country?
In a PRESS STATEMENT titled: “JACKSON UDE AND HIS MALICIOUS PUBLICATION AGAINST RTD LT GENERAL T Y BURATAI”, the lawyer to the retired General debunked the latest smear campaign.
The lawyer stated as follows: “Your publication titled “HOW BURATAI BEGAN STEALING MILLIONS, CONVETING PROPERTIES 11 DAYS AFTER BECOMING ARMY CHIEF” dated 26.04.2022 is nothing but an attempt to smear the image of RTD LT GENERAL T Y BURATAI, current Nigerian Ambassador to Benin.
Your publication is nothing but a rehash of a rested subject matter: Dubai Properties. The subject matter which you hastily tried to re-post to the public has since over 4 years been put to rest by the Federal Authorities.
The Code of conduct bureau having investigated the matter cleared LT GEN T Y BURATAI of any wrong doing and found him not guilty. So for you to now recklessly bring forth the same matter to the public domain is an attempt to tarnish the image of the retired Army Chief and which you will have to made to account for your indiscretion within the ambit of the Law.
Finally, your attempt to bring up the issue of the existence of Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL) with the CAC registration of RTD LT GEN T Y BURATAI as one of the directors and thus paint a picture of illegality is rather childish. For your information the existence of Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL) is lawful and having the name of the retired Army chief on board is legal. For your information there are other similar CAC registered entities of the Nigeria Army with such private incorporated status. These are Nigerian Army Post Exchange (NAPEX), and Nigerian Army Small Scale Drug Manufacturing Unit (NASDMU). Others are Nigerian Army Welfare Insurance Scheme (NAWIS), Post Service Housing Development (PHD) and Post-Service Homes Savings and Loans (PHL).
With these clarifications, it is now clear that your aim was to slur the image of the retired Army Chief. You are therefore urged to retract those defamatory publications.
The statement was endorsed by OUgochukwu Esq a Private Counsel to LT GEN T Y BURATAI(RTD) dated
What really do these haters of good reputation intend to achieve with these poorly written unbelievable and cock and bull stories? Would someone who siphoned public funds be so praised by his successor whom he never recommended for appointment and infact was never told by the appointing authority?
This hogwash is indeed dead on arrival!
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was National Commissioner of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.