Hanan Buhari In The Dock! By Ozodinukwe Okenwa

Quite unlike the richest woman in Africa, Isabel Dos Santos, who was at the centre of ‘Luanda Leaks’, now facing fraud charges in Angola with her playboy husband, Sindika Dokolo, Hanan Buhari, our President’s daughter, is not into big business exploiting the presidential advantages of her father. She is not a billionaire as the Angolan cupidinous Jezebel. Hanan is just a privileged student studying abroad. Unlike Isabel she is yet to be married.

Isabel Dos Santos, according to the ‘Luanda Leaks’, an investigative scandalous documentary volumes realised by a consortium of journalists around the world, looted billions of Dollars of Angolan state resources through oil and gas deals and fraud spanning decades during the long reign of her indisposed father, Eduardo Dos Santos. Like the billions of dollars stashed abroad by the Nigerian late brutal dictator, General Sani Abacha, Isabel and her husband laundered the filthy lucre using offshore bank accounts.

Miss Hanan Buhari can never be Isabel Dos Santos because Nigeria is not Angola. She could however, afford to ride the presidential plane to Bauchi for a private engagement involving an invitation to a durbar by Rilwanu Adamu, Emir of Bauchi. And while there, she could document the event and other tours. 

The President’s daughter ‘made’ name for herself sometime late last year pre-COVID-19 pandemic for wrong reasons when at her behest a young and promising businessman, Anthony Okolie, based in Asaba, Delta State, was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS). His crime? Well, for legitimately buying and using a previously-owned but abandoned SIM card belonging to Hanan!

Citizen Anthony was manhandled and bundled into a flight to Abuja where he was detained for close to three months without trial! Upon his eventual release from captivity Okolie had lost a fortune following the arbitrary detention. His poultry business upon which he had invested millions, according to him, collapsed.

Besides, he ‘lost’ the damsel he was scheduled to have married had the DSS not put him out of circulation thereby damaging his character irredeemably in the moral eyes of the then bride-to-be. The DSS had claimed that citizen Anthony was using the MTN mobile number to extort money from certain unnamed individuals!

Unable to bear his huge loss Okolie sought the legal services of Tope Akinyode, the National President of the Revolutionary Lawyer’s Forum, who got cracking. Seeking justice they sued the DSS, MTN and Hanan for violating the fundamental rights of Okolie.

The case brought before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Asaba suffered multiple technicalities and postponements. Justice Dimgba had recently given a judgment on the case involving the DSS, MTN and the President’s daughter. He ruled against the DSS awarding a N10m ‘damages’ to the victim of state terrorism.

Whilst the DSS had claimed that Hanan ordered them to apprehend Okolie based on allegations of extortion the young woman denied ever asking anyone to arrest anyone on her behalf! The DSS changed their argument again in court saying that the President himself had ordered Anthony’s arrest following reports of abuse of privilege by the nonentity.

The DSS lawyer argued vaguely that the issue concerned state security hence the need to place the ‘victim’ under enclosed surveillance pending full investigation into the matter.

But now that the High Court in Asaba had given its judgement the Yusuf Bichi-led secret state police had failed deliberately to abide by the verdict, to wit: paying the monetary compensation to Anthony.

His lawyer had recently reminded the DSS of their judicial obligation as regards the compensation sanctioned by a court of competent jurisdiction failure of which they would use every legal means available to get the judgement obeyed. Of course the verdict must be obeyed because it was meant to be obeyed!

The DSS is notoriously used to losing cases at courts and ignoring conveniently the consequences, especially those unfavourable to them. It is not the first time they were detaining innocent Nigerians illegally with impunity. It is not the first too they would be losing hopelessly in court following their abuse of power and refusing to obey the judicial pronouncement.

But in every democracy no institution of state should be above the law. In Nigeria, sadly, democracy is defective and Buharism has muddled up the democratic space. In a sane society unlike ours the DSS should have since been banned or reformed to meet the democratic expectations of the electorate the taxes of whom sustain their salaries.

Now, what the case in Asaba represents is nothing but shame to a system that allows itself to flout the law wilfully and expect to go away with it.

Like the DSS the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been accused of killing people extra-judicially and sometimes secretly! Some concerned Nigerians had mobilized themselves last year campaigning for the disbandment of SARS. Yet ever since nothing much has changed in the way SARS operate — arresting innocent Nigerians arbitrarily, torturing them and killing some without trial of any kind.

Yusuf Bichi and his goons must be made to ‘settle’ Anthony for the psychological torture he went through while in their gulag. By shelling out the ten million Naira they would realize that we all live in a democracy and not fascism. Again, by abiding by that verdict the law would have taken precedence over and above brutality of state and its agents.

Docking the President’s daughter was in itself an act of courage worth commending here. When Dos Santos was in power in Luanda, Angola, no sane mortal dared dock Isabel for whatever fiscal malfeasance she must have committed. But now the chicken has come home to roost.

In Nigeria it is unusual associating the first family in any suit whatsoever. But that does not mean that Buharism is democracy-friendly. The matter was judicially indefensible from the beginning to the end.

SOC Okenwa

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