When There Is No Honour Amongst Thieves
By DEMOLA ADENIRAN, NVS 12/6/12
Jun 13, 2012 - 9:23:46 AM
The British author, Jeffery Archer (MP) wrote a fictional book titled “Honour Amongst Thieves” in 1993. In the plot, the late Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein employed some undercover characters to steal the Constitution of the United States in a bid to retaliate against United States after the events of the First Gulf War in 1991. It is ironical that the author himself dishonourably did time in prison after lying under oath in a British Court. But in the actual sense of disambiguating the term “Honour amongst thieves” ; we can agree on a literary explanation is the notion that “criminals do not compromise the activities of criminals”. In the richness of one Yoruba adage there is a similar saying that says “Adie okin je ifun ara won”; meaning “there is no cannibalism amongst chickens”. The logic behind these two sayings is fundamentally being debunked currently in Nigeria as astronomical greed, uncontrollable corruption and a medieval sense of gathering is pushing people in government into a state of looting infinitum.
The many probes taken place in the Nation’s House of Assembly has constantly revealed that those entrusted with the management of the Country are just frauds operating in a fraudulent system. From all indications, it seems when the Executives steal clandestinely, they inform the Legislative Arm of Government so that the latter can form a committee to probe their activities. During the probes, the Legislatives would draw sitting allowances from the hapless people they lead, get secured and fed on the people’s expense sheets and then share the loots stolen by the Executives in the darkness of their chambers. Afterwards, the chicken then becomes a cannibal with no honour by exposing the theft of the Executives to the whole Nation while the Executives retaliate back with counter-allegations of their deals. At the end of the day, depending on who’s ‘mouth’ sings best to the President’s ears; one person (usually, a member of the Legislative Arm of Government) would get paraded in front of the World by the toothless EFCC and then taken to the compromised Judiciary. The Judiciary in turn will drag foot on the whole issue until one of the countless distractions ‘engineered’ in a carousel to distract Nigerians occur yet again; to relegate the case into our national consciousness. And because there are no honours amongst thieves in Nigeria, the whole corrupt bazaar is bound to repeat itself yet again. Everybody in Government has some dark secrets hidden in the darkness of their closets and everybody in Government knows this. The thieves operate with a common goal to shamelessly deplete Nigeria’s wealth while still wanting to maintain a clean reputation in the eyes of the public.
Such was the case of Hon. Farouk Lawan who chaired a House Committee saddled with the responsibility of probing the Fuel Subsidy Corrupt regime. Farouk Lawan was later fingered with concrete evidence of accepting bribes over the weekend after coming up with a report that indicted people in Government and their friends of ripping Nigerians off Fuel Subsidy Funds. And like times of old when powerful people are about to be exposed; they fight back spectacularly. The key question here is ‘is Farouk Lawan guilty of this allegations levied against him by one of the known Oil Marketers and friend of the President, Femi Otedola? The answer lies in two evidences as provided by the interviews given by the two principals of this whole new white wash of Government and on the door steps of National House of Assembly in past probes. The same National Assembly that Former President Olusegun Obasanjo only called “thieves, armed robbers and rogues” just a month ago.
Let us start with the interview given by Femi Otedola to Thisday Newspaper of the 11th of June 2012. Otedola had said “Farouk Lawan contacted him firstly wanting to know how the downstream sector of the oil industry works and he obliged him. Then Farouk Lawan told him that he (Otedola) had to pay some money in order to take the names of his two companies off the compiled list of Subsidy Fund defaulters. Otedola said since “he knew he wasn’t one of the culprits, he informed the SSS (not the police, mind you but the SSS) and they performed a sting operation with marked dollar bills and recording devices. Farouk Lawan actually is on tape going to collect one of the first installations of the purported $3Million. Again just yesterday, Farouk Lawan spoke on a Political discuss program on radio called Political Platform on Raypower FM and he vehemently denied collecting any money be it bribe or otherwise from anybody. Even when it seemed one of the presenters wanted to give Lawan a soft-landing by asking if he (Farouk Lawan) collected any money in the view of handing it over to security operatives, Farouk Lawan denied it. But today, he is reported to have admitted to the fact that he indeed collected money for the sake of evidence.
Analysing just this small excerpt above puts both men in the guilty dock. Firstly, if we examine the logics behind the ‘giving and taking of bribes’; a desperate bribe giver who wants to clear his or her name should be the one doing the chasing and not the other way round. So what Hon. Farouk Lawan was doing in Femi Otedola’s house with $500,000 defeats the logic behind whatever his excuses would be. Secondly, what manner of Nigerian has the direct link to the State Security Service? He must be so powerful that the whole apparatchik of Nigeria’s Security can be deployed in a sting operation on his behalf. If Otedola’s Zenon Oil and AP were indeed guilty of siphoning the Fuel Subsidy funds is it possible to prosecute him considering his known proxy to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Based on the antecedents of this current Government, it would have been easier to trap a spirit in a bottle than jailing Femi Otedola. Of course Otedola could have earlier used the public domain to clear his name but he instead chose to keep it until the probe report has become a National Issue. Whatever, he intended with the timing of the revelations has achieved its fundamental objectives of ‘freeing’ his powerful friends in the Executives. They can get a breather from their conniving Legislative arm of Government and begin another round of treasury looting; while Nigerians grapple with the distractions of Farouk Lawan’s complicity.
Thirdly, the National Assembly had in the past exposed similar corruption of the executives in major scams but each time, they get thwarted back with a back hand by the ever powerful Executives. In all cases in the past, the Probe Panels were caught going behind the back collecting bribes and other perks from the same Executives they were meant to probe. Ndidi Elumelu and the Power Sector Probe of 2006, Herman Hembe and the SEC probe of 2012 were all indeed guilty of bribes receipt during their activities. That Farouk Lawan denied ever collecting money on a National Radio program and then back tracking that he did as ‘evidence’ 24 hours later only meant one thing. He is guilty as alleged. Again, it is evident that Femi Otedola is protecting the interests of some people by revealing the information two months after the whole exercise began. And whilst we await comments from the EFCC, SSS and Police who have all been mentioned by both men as witnesses in their cases; we must also stress here that the EFCC, SSS and the Police have all proven in the recent past to also lack... honour.
Source: Ocnus.net 2012