vidence on the place, time and jurisdiction of birth of Muhammadu Buhari – either as a Major General or President, are well documented enough that ambiguity is never accommodated. He attained the rank of Major General of the Nigerian Army before retiring. And he was, and is, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
These are the incontrovertible facts of the gentleman and officer – Muhammadu Bubari. Even when the level of his Certificate became so controversial and search for it became a serious challenge to all those in his camp, the search was limited only to Nigeria’s landscape.
It was never extended to Niger Republic in spite of the fact of the Country’s proximity to Nigeria – the neighbourhood boundary extends from Sokoto in the North-West to Maiduguri, in North-East. This secures the evidence that my President – Muhammadu Buhari, is a Nigerian over and over.
Yet, there are happenings over the past few years to put a wedge of suspicion on the actual nationality of Buhari; in-between Nigeria and Niger.
The more we look at the evidences of nationality’s loyalty, available to Nigerians, about Buhari’s actions, the more one would want to query and interrogate the fact of him being a Nigerian. Maybe, we should access one or two of these happening in order to put our navigational chart on focus.
At the end of our interrogation and whatever fact or facts we may be coming out with; without giving judgement ahead, Buhari must be seen as a Nigeria – through and through.
Since his emergence as the President of Nigeria in 2015, Buhari has overwhelmingly opened Nigeria’s financial vault into providing strategic infrastructural development to the Niger Republic, despite Nigeria’s poor financial standing.
The projects executed in the last seven years include a $2billion standard gauge railway project the Nigerian government is constructing from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic, a project President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off in February, 2021.
The project, which was awarded to a Portuguese Construction Company, Mota-Engil, involved the construction of 284 kilometres standard-gauge line with 12 stations from Kano in northern Nigeria to Maradi in landlocked Niger Republic.
The project was funded through an external loan of $4.054b, approved by the National Assembly, in 2018. It remains one of those loans we might not be able to pay in the next 50 years.
The Nigerian leader had informed the National Assembly, in the letter, dated August 24, 2021, that the projects to be executed in the six geopolitical zones of the country, including Kano to Maridin, listed in the 2018-2021 Federal Government Borrowing Plan, would be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development, Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chattered/China Export and Credit in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 and €710m (839m) and grant components of $125m.
And we must not forget in hurry what the Nigerian Minister of Transport then; Rotimi Amaechi, told Nigerians at a time that he had to go to Niger Republic personally to beg the government to allow the construction of the rail line into their country. Did he say so? Yes, he said it, and with the approval of President Buhari.
Then another project followed successively.
In July 2018, Nigeria and Niger Republic agreed to collaborate to construct an oil pipeline and refinery.
They agreed that while the proposed refinery will be located in Katsina State, Northern Nigeria, crude supply will be through the pipeline from Niger Republic’s oilfields in the Ténéré desert.
The MoU for the two projects, which are expected to cost about $2billion, was signed by the two countries’ energy ministers and witnessed by Buhari and his counterpart from the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.
In November 2020, the Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, headed by President Buhari himself, signed a $2b refinery project to import fuel from Niger Republic, a country that only joined the league of oil-producing countries in 2012. That is Buhari’s way of growing Nigerian economy!
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources in justifying the MoU stated that the Soraz Refinery in Zinder, Niger Republic has an installed capacity to produce 20,000 barrels per day while the country’s domestic requirement was just 5000 barrels per day, thereby resulting in a surplus of 15,000 barrels per day.
Timipre Sylva, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; who was more or less a spare tyre in the Nigerian-Buhari’s vehicle said: “Nigerians should be proud that we are doing that to encourage sub-regional trade because we have been talking about sub-regional trade for a long time, and this is how it should be between neighbouring countries. Niger should import from us what we have, and we should import from Niger what they have. Let us encourage intra-regional trade, and this is one good example of trading within West Africa.”
There are too many over-generosity of Muhammadu Buhari to the country called Niger Republic that time may not permit to mention all, exempt just to add the latest, which looks like a few days ago.
President Buhari, just last Wednesday, was reported to have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Zainab Ahmed, to release the sum of N1.14billion for the purchase of 10 Land Cruiser Jeeps, to the government of Niger Republic.
These 10 luxurious cars – take note that they are not security operational vehicles, came at the cost of One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira apiece. And they were never imported from Innoson Motors of Nigeria, but instead, the contract to import the vehicles from Japan was given to Kaura Motors Nig. Ltd to supply the vehicle under the direct procurement method, in line with section 10 A and B of the Public Procurement Act 2007, because of the urgency of the matter. Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited is an incorporated auto dealers based in Kaduna State and was registered on the 19th of August, 1985, with Registration Number 75140.
The vehicles, it was gathered, would “assist the country [Niger Republic] in the transportation and movement of VIPs, high-ranking officials, top government functionaries and visitors scheduled for official visit to Niger at this time of its nascent democracy, with all its attendant consequences on their collective and individual security and safety of lives and property.”
Permit me to point out that there was a time, about four years ago, when President Muhammadu Buhari nominated a Nigerien [not Nigerian citizen] citizen for ambassadorial appointment in Nigeria and same was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate.
I will recommend that Nigerians should tamper justice with mercy on our beloved president on this Niger Republic issue because if the truth must be told; Muhammadu Buhari has so many Cousins – not the type of Mafioso Cousins, but BLOODLY related Cousins in that country.
Or how will you explain a situation when two Governors, from two different regions of Niger Republic, crossed the Nigerien/Nigerian border into Kano State in 2019, to campaign with, and for, a bigger Cousin – Muhammadu Buhari, during the General Campaign of that year. Or didn’t you see that?
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.
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