When a General behaves like a Priest

Posted by News Express | 6 September 2020 | 885 times

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 “He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator,” said Francis Bacon in his 1625 Essays.

One of the most impactful stories that has ever been told in organised religions is that of the Good Samaritan, which encapsulates the import, essence and significance of recognising God. A traveller was attacked by armed mercenaries and given a bloodied nose and left for dead even as he was dispossessed of his entire possessions and abandoned in the middle of nowhere. The local priest of the nearby village passed by but failed to rescue him from his injuries to save his life. Another prominent person passed by and did not rescue him. But a poor person who is not from the dominant religious affiliation and nationality as that of the victim came by and took pity on him and immediately took him to a hospital and paid for the medical care and feeding. Christ Jesus says the example of this Samaritan man remains the pinnacle of the finest tradition of man’s hospitality to man, which defeats the opposite vice and criminality of man’s inhumanity to man. All organised religions, including Christianity and Islam, preach hospitality and kindness to each other.

Religions that recognise God as the ultimate force behind the being of humanity teaches that somebody should and must be his/her brother’s keeper; and must never at any time behave like Cain towards Abel who betrayed his sibling and when asked where his brother is, retorted “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

For whatever it is worth, whether you are a believer in a faith system or even an atheist, one factor that retains some modicum of global sanity and stability, is the attribute of watching out for each other.

This attribute has become increasingly rare in our fast changing and evolutionary world, whereby individualism and consumerism are gradually eroding our humanity; and it seems like the “I” for myself alone has become the greater ideology of the many rather than “we”, which represents the collective interest of humanity.

One of those sweet melodies that moulded some of us into adulthood was the performance that was done by reputable global musical icons such as Michael Jackson and many others, immediately the rash of earthquakes affected much of Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people and rendering several thousand internally displaced and made them refugees scattered all over the earth.

The song talked about the essence of protecting the interests of the collective rather than holding on tenaciously to our selfish interests as it were; and the song was aptly entitled We are the world.

These stories bring us to the topic of our brief reflection which is about the situation of an octogenarian retired soldier whose house in Kaduna was demolished by the Kaduna State Government under the controversial Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, thereby rendering the old man and his old wife homeless. Consequent upon the illegal demolition, they were left with no option but to reside outside on the streets under the ceaseless rain and the hazardous weather of Kaduna.

Reading about this story brought tears to my eyes as well as those of millions of Nigerians. I have had the journalistic privilege of speaking to dozens of Nigerians from all over the country about these despicable human rights violations of the Kaduna State dictatorial regime; and all of the respondents were unanimous in condemning this atrocity as evil and demonic.

Understandably, mainstream and online newspapers did their excellent job as the conscience of the nation by relaying this heart-breaking ordeal of an old retired soldier who, during his active days, served Nigeria and made sacrifices to defend our collective interests as a nation. Millions read this story but one person who read it and moved from wailing to walking the talk is the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, who has just brought succour and relief to this old soldier thrown out on the streets by Governor el-Rufai of Kaduna State who is known to be enjoying reading reports of how many Nigerians his policies and actions have rendered homeless.

The thinking that flashed through my mind was how an elected official holding a public office could be this mean to someone old enough to be his Dad, above 80 years and who had, indeed, worked all his active life to serve Nigeria. I, then, remembered that Nasir el-Rufai has the notoriety of destroying hundreds houses of the poor in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), when he served as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

Ironically, as he was busy bulldozing houses of poor people in Abuja, there were allegations that he was never a saint as he was allegedly implicated in mind-boggling cases of land racketeering in the FCT, in which case he was accused of allocating choice plots of lands to even his then two-year old son.

After he left Abuja as minister, he faced series of investigations, one of which seriously indicted him just as he was purportedly banned from holding public office for ten years, which he fought through the same judicial system he often disregard their verdicts.

That was the far-reaching conclusion of an investigative hearing conducted by the Senate of the Federal Republic.

As reported on July 11, 2008, by ThisDay, the Joint-Senate Committee on FCT and Housing, which investigated the administration of the FCT between 1999 and 2007, had recommended that former FCT minister, el-Rufai be banned from holding public office now and in future. The committee said in its interim report laid at the table of the Senate by the chairman, Senator Abubakar Danso Sadangi, that: “Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic set-up.”

On December 12, 2013, Pointblank News, a US-based online portal reported also as follows: “After assessing the activities of Mallam el-Rufai as FCT minister, we conclude that, he is not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic set-up.”

Mallam el-Rufai has been declared unfit to hold public office. He is also to forfeit a house he allegedly allocated to himself during the sale of Federal Government houses in Abuja.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Sodangi, submitted the report, upbraided el-Rufai over the sale of Federal Government houses in FCT, and recommended that his administration should account for N32 billion balance of the proceed. Besides, el-Rufai is to account for funds collected by the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Satellite Town Development Agency and Abuja Investments and Property Development Company Limited.

The panel also recommended that all those who disobeyed court orders then should be prosecuted by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

A copy of the recommendations obtained by The Nation reads: “All officers who disobeyed or ordered the disobedience of court orders should be prosecuted by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“Also on the sale of Federal Government houses, the total receipt is N96.7 billion and deductions were N34.2 billion and the balance was given as N62.19 billion. The bank statements showed only N29 billion, leaving a balance of only N32 billion unaccounted for, despite all demands from him and his officers.

“After assessing the activities of Mallam el-Rufai in his duties as FCT minister, we came to the inevitable conclusion that:

• he should account for all funds collected by the ad-hoc bodies he raised during his tenure, namely AGIS, Ad hoc Committee on sale of government houses in FCT, the Satellite Town Development Agency, and Abuja Investments and Property Development Company Limited, among others;

• the house he obtained for himself where he signed as lesser and lessee be revoked as a person cannot sell an item to himself; and

•that Mallam el-Rufai is not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic set-up.”

He fought spiritedly to obtain favourable verdict from one of those Abuja High Courts. However, the contents of the findings couldn’t have been invalidated by a mere order of a one-man court, when these extensively damaging accusations could have been subjected to thorough forensic investigations. Nigeria being what it is, these allegations were swept under the carpet, and this dictatorial character managed to find his way. Today, he is governor of Kaduna State. But, as it is stated that old habits die hard, el-Rufai took his daredevil activities of demolishing living quarters and churches to Kaduna. And his latest victim is a man in his eighties, who served Nigeria for over 36 years and reportedly bought his house legitimately. But, el-Rufai removed the house even when it was said that the case is before a court of law.

Few days back, something that happens occasionally took place. What happened, which occurred in his career constituency, has validated the popular saying that every disappointment is a blessing. The Chief of Army Staff presented a three-bedroom flat to the evicted 85-year-old retired soldier, after SaharaReporters’ story.

Recall that armed policemen allegedly assaulted and evicted Ojo, his 75-year-old wife, Veronica, and two sons from their house at Block L12, KAPWA Quarters, and Kabala Costain.

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has donated a three-bedroom flat to an 85-year-old retired staff sergeant of the Nigerian Army, Paul Ojo, who was forcefully evicted from his residence by the police and officials of the Kaduna State Government.

General Officer Commanding 1 Division, U.S. Mohammed, who made the donation on behalf Buratai on Tuesday in Kaduna, said the Chief of Army Staff got the information about the circumstances that led to the eviction of Ojo as reported by Sahara Reporters.

Buratai, who was said to have been touched by the plight of the man, directed that an alternative permanent accommodation be given to him and his family.

The house located at No. 26 Yakowa Street, Anguwan Galadima, Kaduna, has been handed over to him.

In a letter handing over the property to Ojo and signed by Mohammed reads: “The COAS, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai got information about the unfortunate circumstances that led to your ejection from your erstwhile Kabala Costain on August 17, 2020.

“He was emotionally touched by your plight and consequently directed that an alternative permanent accommodation be secured for you and your family.

“Pursuant to this, we were able to secure a more befitting house at No 26 Yakowa Street Anguwan Galadima Kaduna.”

Recall that armed policemen allegedly assaulted and evicted Ojo, his 75-year-old wife, Veronica, and two sons from their house at Block L12, KAPWA Quarters, and Kabala Costain.

The police invaded the house without any prior notice or court order and asked the occupants to vacate the building. The policemen physically assaulted Ojo, dragged him on the floor and threw out his property. The leader of the team, one DSP Ahmed, reportedly fired several gunshots during the operation.

With the presentation of the new apartment to Ojo, the army authorities had assuaged the pains of his family. The general impression is that the COAS Buratai has, by this gesture endeared himself to the hearts and minds of soldiers, whether retired or serving, to believe that They Will Never Walk Alone. I think I can describe it in a Roman Catholic way where I worship, that this Moslem-born army General has behaved like a Reverend Father or Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Kudos to the Army and kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a genuine lover of humanity as his Army Chief of Staff.



•Onwubiko, National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.emmanuelonwubiko.com, www.huriwa@blogspots.com

Source: News Express

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