Hajiya Najatu Mohammed is a well-known politician from Kano state.She is fearless and very outspoken.Aside from being a member of the All Progressives Congress,APC , Hajiya Naja as she is fondly called is also known to be a close political associate of President Muhammadu Buhari.They fought political battles and lost in the past as the General sought to be president .In 2015, she was equally in the field campaigning along with millions of Nigerians to ensure Buhari’s victory.
As Buhari settles in Nigeria’s president , Naja says there are already troubling signs from those seeking to subvert the rule of law .In this interview held Friday August 14, 2015 in Abuja ,by Danlami Nmodu, the publisher/editor-in-chief of Newsdiaryonline, she expresses her fears that the forces that conspired against Buhari while he was military head of state are back seeking to scuttle the commendable anti-corruption moves of the President.Excerpts:
Q:We should start by reviewing the steps taken so far by President Muhammadu Buhari in trying to restore sanity to the country.Some say he is slow,others say well he is just being tactical and strategic.What’s you take on that?
A:My take is that he is being strategic.Those who are advocating …that he should be fast about the way he is doing things, that he should take the fast track just know what is happening.They know that if he continues (with) investigations in the various ministries, theirs is finished.They have interest in this corruption and a lot of them are beneficiaries of corruption.So the only thing the PDP actually has been saying is that he should move faster.Faster to cover up, because once he appoints ministers a lot of things will be covered up .And if he is unfortunate enough to appoint a corrupt person minister in a particularly corrupt area,then that is it, he will never know the truth.But now, he has had sessions with perm secs,directors in the various ministries to the extend that even some directors are counteracting some information given by some directors where they are economical with the truth.So there is no reason for him to be fast.Everything is working well any way.It took Obasanjo over two months to (announce) his ministers.I don’t know what’s the big deal.And the one that went very fast,President Jonathan, where did he land the country?He was so fast in appointment.He was so fast in dismissal.He never investigated anything.He perpetuated and and entrenched corruption.So we don’t want President Buhari to be fast, let him take his time.With or without ministers, he is working and we have found sanity in our country.The tension is gone.Our foreign reserve is rising.So what else do we need?There is a lot of peace in the country.We are all sane now.People are no longer tensed (up).We have less fear about being bombed,being assassinated, being kidnapped,we have less ear of that.
Q:You said the tension is gone but there appears to be tension within the Jonathan camp,because some are apparently worried that the anti-corruption moves are going beyond the expected bounds –allegedly retrieving money from people,arresting people to quiz them to the point that even the former President Jonathan was said to have secretly met with President Buhari in the villa.So obviously there is tension.
A :No there is tension in the camp of corrupt people.There is tension among people that have looted and bled this country to the brink..They are of course scared.But they created their own tension.If you do the wrong thing, evil begets evil.If you do the wrong thing ,what you get is what you deserve.You will reap what you sow.They have kept this country under tension by that carnage,by that theft,that plunder of our resources for six years.So they are now reaping what they have sown.But as far as the generality of the country we are at peace, even in the North east.
Q:There is even the feeling that the meeting the National Peace Committee led by former Head of State,General Abdulsalami Abubakar (with President Buhari),that the Committee may be intervening now in order to find some soft landing for some people.
A:Why does a criminal need soft landing.
Q:Nobody has been convicted yet.
A:Then why are they jittery.Nobody has been convicted but people are being investigated.Why are they scared.If you are clean, you have nothing to fear.Did they not investigate Buhari?Even Jonathan investigated Buhari.General Obasanjo investigated Buhari.But he could not find anything and there was never a time that we were jittery about him being investigated.There was never a time that we were under any kind of pressure because General Muhammadu Buhari was being investigated.In fact, they were so disappointed by their investigation that at the end of the day ,they could only accuse him of sponsoring Boko Haram,which of course , they did not find anything,but you know, they were just making accusations to create more tension in the country.So now is their turn to feel the heat that Nigerians have been feeling as a result of the corruption in that government because it’s corruption that has led to the breakdown of our military.They could not function.Now they are functioning.Now, they are highly motivated.So it’s corruption that has brought about the death of hundreds of thousands of people particularly in the north east.So what do you do about those people? Are they not people that have lost their parents,orphaned;that have lost their children?Hundreds of thousands of them that are now internally displaced in their own country and abroad amongst our neighbouring countries?Don’t they feel anything for those people,that they have lost so much because of this corruption?When you are corrupt, you see what people don’t understand is this,when you perpetrate evil,when you think that man cannot get hold of you, how do you run away from the Almighty?When he says don’t do this and you do this and you do it,you think there is no Law of Karma?There is.This is it.So why are they running helter skelter?If they are tensed, it’s because of the blood in their hands.
Q:What do you make of the continuing meeting of this (Peace) Committee with President Buhari?
A:This Committee is a useless one. It’s a very corrupt one.Because let us first look at the reasons behind creating the so-called peace committee.Like they said the peace committee is supposed to inculcate or garner support for peaceful election
A:Don’t forget that the committee comprises respected citizens?
A:No they are not respected citizens.With due respect, they are not respected.Respected by whom?Respected by (the fact that ) they created themselves or were created by the former president?They are not respected because you have to take each and everyone of them and look at the interest that each and everyone of them represents and look at what they have done when they were in a position of power.
Q:Can you explain that?
A:Take the Sultan of Sokoto (Saad Abubakar ) for Instance,when Diezani was being investigated by the national Assembly under (ex Speaker Aminu) Tambuwal,where did she run to.She ran to the Sultan of Sokoto who is heading the Sokoto Emirate and Tambuwal is right under him.He called Tambuwal and cautioned him against it(investigating Diezani).Why did he do that?
Q:Are you saying this as a fact?
A:Yes, Iam saying this as a fact.Let him deny it and I will give you more information.That was what he did.Look at (Pastor Ayo) Oritsejafor, he was a member of the PDP that was in Jonathan’s support group.He was the one whose aircraft was caught smuggling Dollars into South Africa.And he had no business using his aircraft to smuggle arms or money into any,because like he said, his aircraft was supposed to have been hired.But it was not supposed to be hired in the first place, it’s a private jet.
A:Because of his influence in Sokoto generally.Only in Sokoto.It is only in Sokoto that he has influence.I don’t think ..he is the Sarkin Musulmi like they say.He is the Sultan of Sokoto-he is just like the Emir of Kano.The Emir of Kano has a lot of influence in Kano – of course for those who want to be influenced by him.You know, because this is a free world,this is a democracy.We follow whom we follow whom we want to follow.When we want, we allow ourselves to be influenced by whom we want to influence,but of course these are cultural (things).For cultural reasons, some people respect leaders even if they are corrupt leaders.I’m not one of them.And so many people are not like that because we owe no allegiance to anybody anymore.But we are obliged to be influenced by leaders that are upright and that have concerns for their followers
Q:So Diezani wanted the Sultan to stop the probe?
A:And he did.
Q:By the national assembly?
A:Yes.If you stifle,if you arm-twist Tambuwal, you arm-twist the whole national Assembly.At the end of the day,she did not only stop at that but she also went to court and stopped everything-the corruption in the courts of course.But going back to what the Committee is doing,you see ,Nigerians are sick and tired..
Q:No ma, you are trying to allege that the Sultan arm-twisted Tambuwal
A:Yes he did
Q;To stop probing Diezani
A:Yes and they did.There is no reason for her to go to the Sultan in the first place.She has no business going to kneel before the Sultan..And then Oritsejafor has over and over again accused Moslems of killing Christians.Was he helping the peace?And when Moslems were being massacred ,he never uttered a word.So what he was doing was to divide and to rule.So who cares about Oritsejafor and whose interest was he protecting.His personal interest and the interest of the president who had given him so much.That was president Jonathan.And then who is next.Who are those in the Committee.
Q:Father (Bishop) Kukah and others .
A: Father Kukah.See what Father Kukah,look Father Kukah is quoted as saying ‘face your work and stop pursing perceive thieves’.This is supposed to be a man of God.A man of God is supposed to fight against corruption.It’s in the Bible.
Q:But I listened to him saying he (and the committee) didn’t come to ask the president not to probe..
A:But why did he say that President Buhari should stop pursuing perceived thieves
Q:What I hear him saying was that the President should follow due process.
A:Due process, what did he do against due process?Did he create a military tribunal to prosecute them?No.He said he is taking them to court,so which (other) due process? Is there a due process beyond going to court?Isn there a due process beyond investigations ? And people forget that the president as per section 130subsectio2 of our constitution is the custodian of both human and natural resources.So it is his business as the Commander in chief to give security to human and natural resources.It is his responsibility to protect the territorial integrity of this country.It is therefore his business as the chief accounting officer of this country to track,to retrieve and prosecute those who have looted our resources.He is doing the right thing in due process as given to him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Q:But the peace Committee played a key role towards the tail end of Jonathan’s regime and helped to apparently broker some kind of deal ,I mean ,some kind of understanding that led to a peaceful transition.So why would anyone blame them?
A:No, no no.What did they do?What did they do to (ensure) peaceful transition?
Q:We saw them meeting Jonathan and meeting Buhari
A:So what about meetings.They have had meetings before, didn’t they?Let me tell you, we had peace in spite of them.When the Dokubos were making those statements to the end of elections, did they utter a word?Were they ever cautioned?Was anybody ever caught?And then when (Elder Godsday)Orubebe was doing what he was doing to truncate the elections,did they say a word?It took the intervention of the international community,otherwise, they would have truncated it.Where were they?So they are lying.That is not their interest .And what took them so long to talk?Now we are on course, the country is on course.President Buhari is on course fighting corruption, they want to stop it.Look,Iam a history student.And history teaches us to analyse the past in order to be able to predict the future by some degree of certainty,of accuracy.And as a result of that,my analysis is this:in 1983, when General Buhari then as President was investigating the massive corruption then,he was locking people up.People who were supposed to be executed for trafficking and destroying our people,drugs traffickers were executed,because that was the law then.He has never acted outside the tenets of the law.President Buhari had never acted against the tenets of the law.If the law says this is what should should be done,that is what should be done.So when the law says today that people that have siphoned money it should be retrieved and they must be jailed.This is the law of our country.
Q:They must be tried
A:They must be tried.This is exactly what he is doing.However, what happened in 1983 was some clergy and some members of the Ulama were used to campaign against him then.They said he was mean.They said he was stiff.He was uncompromising and that they were losing their businesses,because then, they were hoarding.The business professionals were also used to fight him.They were hoarding.It was a time of famine and they were hoarding food,selling them to people at very, veryexorbitant prices.There was so much corruption everyhwhere.And what did they do?They brought thse people out to propagate against him and General (Ibrahim ) Babangida succeeded in ousting him and nobody said anything.Now, so as a history student,I analysed that and I see the same trend happening.They have taken the Ulama represented by the Sultan of Sokoto,Oritsejafor and Reverend (Bishop) Kukah and of course General Abdulsalami.General Abdulsalami himself in fact has a lot of corruption charges as per what what happened during Obasanjo.We all know this.It is no secret.So they don’t even have the moral standing to start talking about corruption or about any investigation.It is not their business.And they are talking aboutpeace.Whose peace are they now representing? Is it the peace of the looters or those that have been bled?Obviously they are representing the interest of those that have bled this country.They are not interested in encouraging the feedom of the commonman in this country,because as a result of corruption, hundreds of thousands have been killed particularly in the north.As a result of corruption,you cannot find anything in our hospitals.As a result of corruption, there are senseless killings all over,lawlessness,total breakdown of law and order.As a result of corruption,hundreds and maybe thousand s are dying on our roads,the potholes have killed so many.As a result of corruption,so many evil people, smugglers are coming into this country with all sorts of things arms, drugs they are destroying this country.Corruption has destroyed this country for God’s sake.So whose interest are they talking about.
Q:If I get you right,you have the feeling that these recent moves by the committee members and some people eventually lead to some sinister moves against the president?
A:Yes.No doubt because this is what happened in (1985).It’s the same kind of trend .But what they don’t know is that they don’t know how far Nigerians have gone.And I want to zero it and attach it to what (Governor Ayodele) Fayose has said on several occasions.He has come out to say,I mean the current governor of Ekiti;he has come out to say on quite a few occasions that if you vote Buhari,he is going to die anyway!He is going to die like Abacha died in office,like Murtala died in office,like (Umaru)YarAdua died in office.Now look at these three people, they are all northerners and they were all assassinated.So if you link it up with this move that has happened before,we are saying no to it.
Q: But all believe that (Umaru) YarAdua died of illness.
A: No, no ,no.There are very ,very strong reasons to believe that they just finished him up.He had a terminal illness, there is no doubt about that.But quite a few people know including his doctors that that they expedited his death through poisoning.So if that is it, in fact, why should Fayose include Yar Adua ,if they know truly and honestly that he just died of natural causes.Because they were all assassinated.Murtala was assassinate, Abacha was assassinated.
Q:So you fear that could be a (target)
A:Yes and they should know that we’ll hold them responsible.That the whole country made up of over a 160million people are going to rise against them.Because, very few people,you can count them on your fingertips that have held this country to ransom.And this is no longer acceptable, let me tell you…
Q: You haven’t stated your fear.What is your fear?
A:.. My fear is that having heard what Fayose said,having seen the trend that this so-called peace committee is taking, trying to propagate against the government of Muhammadu Buhari.I fear that they might try to assassinate him and give excuses,because already the cat has been out of the sack from what Fayose has said.And fro looking at history and the trend, the cat is out of the sack.So let me tell them and we are telling them in no uncertain terms that is no longer acceptable.No one will ever hold Nigeria to ransomagain.We’ll hold them responsible.
Q:But the president himself is apparentl unmoved.He is saying he is going ahead, those who stole money will be tried very soon.So if Itake your analysis, we are heading for very tough times ahead?
A: Tough times for who? Tough times for thieves.The more they are prosecuted, tried and locked up,our resources brought back, the better for us, the better for the mass majority of Nigerians that are languishing.Let them go and languish for their crimes.It’s okay by us.And let me tell you, the reason why they have consistently tried to stifle his victory, that is President Buhari is because they know that people really don’t change.At 72,I don’t expect President Muhammadu Buhari to change his attitude from being that zero-tolerant to corruption and being somebody that can compromise.Because anything short of that is compromise.Like I was asked several times by people when I go on radio during current affairs programmes:when President Buhari (as a candidate)said that they are drawing a line, a lot of people attacked him on that.They said what line?Is it your money?It is not his money.He is just the custodian.So if they want him to forgive that which is stolen, it’s as if it is his personal property.It is not his personal property. These are resources that belong to the people of this country over 160million of them,to be siphoned by a handful of people,this cannot be accepted anywhere on earth.To prosecute them is to do justice.To lock them up,track the loot, bring it back is justice over justice.
Q:So, finally what do you expect the Peace Committee to do, that they should go ..?
A: They should just go home and rest.If their hands are soiled themselves,then Iam not surprised.And we are not surprised,Nigerians are not surprised,if their hands are soiled.And it appears to be.I personally feel that they have something to cover themselves.They have a lot to cover up,otherwise they have no business, being in that committee or creating a committee that will truncate democracy,because is all about the rule of law.It’s all about giving to people what is due to them.
Q:But don’t you think this country really needs this committee of people to be intervening ..
A:No no no, we don’t need them.Intervene to do what?What are they intervening against or for?What is it?They are neither here nor there.All the are trying to say is that please give crooks a soft landing.No crook will get a soft landing.They are in that Abyss that is a bottomless pit.That is where they belong.
Q: That what?
A: Abyss , they are going down the abyss ,it is a bottomless pit,because that is what they have done to hundreds of thousands of people as a result of that theft.