Public official allegedly spent N2.2bn on prayers for Nigeria; why do you still pray for free?

If the headline above got you scratching your head in confusion and disbelief or doubting your own sanity, we wouldn’t blame you, but make no mistake about it, the account of the story you are about to read is beyond pure ‘cruise.’ Yes, a public official was recently alleged to be involved in a N2.2 billion scandal, and his excuse was that he had to use the money to execute prayers.

What kind of prayer costs that much you may ask, how about a prayer against terrorism?

According to a report by Sahara Reporters, Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, and Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, noted that the N2.2bn allocated for the purchase of firearms to fight insurgency in the North-East, was instead used to employ religious leaders to help use their prayers to fight Boko Haram. This report was released by Adariko Michael, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigating officer.

As a result, they were charged with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Witness reports have it that N650m was transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600m and N200m were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

The investigations into this suspicious transactions led to the discovery from the banks involved that the money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

After investigating the related bank statements, the EFCC was able to get their hands on the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa), who disclosed that the money was used to hire religious clerics to pray for the nation, owing to the Boko Haram problem.

When asked to mention said religious clerics and give their details, only two names were presented. And as it stands, the hearing for this absurd case continues today.

This story in itself would have been infuriating, and a nation wide cry for the sanctioning of the involved parties would have ensued, if we lived in a fairly sane nation. But this is Nigeria, and shenanigans like this barely even last more than a day on social media.

This situation should serve as an example when you look up effrontery in the dictionary, except that this wouldn’t even be the most ridiculous thing seen in the political circle this year.

Just a few weeks ago, many warehouses filled with COVID-19 palliatives were discovered, and reports had it that these food materials were being hidden so that they can be used as incentives for 2023 political elections. In fact, one lawmaker had stated during their plenary at the Lagos Assembly that most youths in the country are drug addicts yet, she was seen to have used some of the palliatives to celebrate her birthday. Guess what has been done about this? Nothing.

In the 2021 budget estimates, we saw that N128 billion was allocated for just 469 lawmakers, while only N31 billion would be allocated as the federal healthcare budget, not withstanding that we are dealing with a global pandemic. It gets even more hysterical.

Earlier this year, officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and external stakeholders were involved in an N81 billion corruption scandal. Their hearing was televised all over the country, and when the Acting Chairman of the NDDC was called to account for the misdemeanor, he fainted with his eyes wide open, and some of his motor skills still intact, but some how this vindicated the man, as no one has heard of the case since then.

The aforementioned instances are some of the head scratchers that happens in our political ecosystem. We do not have the time to revisit all of the ‘governance sitcoms’ this year alone, let alone over the years. But remember, when next you wish to rant, the Information Minister once stated that the federal government spent N115,000 daily (N3.5 million monthly) on feeding a single detainee.

Boya k’eni nice night.

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