Where there is power there is likely to be scandals. Whilst some are soft and ignoble others are quite fully blown and end up catching the attention of the general public. In the highest corridor of power in Nigeria, there have been quite a few scandals to take note of.
In this piece, we take a look at the top 10 scandals which have emanated from Aso Rock.
10. 1985 – Gloria Okon Drugs Scandal
In April 1985, a petite woman named Gloria Okon was busted for drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano. In her possession were found hard drugs such as heroin and other narcotics. She was arrested during the General Muhammadu Buhari’s military administration and was billed to be executed as was the law put in place against any drug-related offence at the time.
Within 6 days of her arrest, Gloria Okon was reported to have died in custody. The cause of death was food poisoning. Police said she was this close to revealing who her Baron was. The question on everyone’s tongue was “who kill am?” General Buhari was then overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida, this ultimately put an end to the full-scale investigation into Gloria’s death launched by the previous government.
Investigative journalists later reported that Gloria Okon was actually working for the then head of state General Ibrahim Babangida and that she actually never died in custody but was secretly whisked away to England. The dead body presented for autopsy was actually not Gloria’s, but a corpse that was taken from the mortuary and used as a cover-up.
The scandal kept making the rounds that then First Lady, Maryam Babangida was the one who recruited Gloria as part of the largest drug syndicate in Nigeria. The truth about this never really came to light.
9. 2007 – Patricia Etteh, Money Laundering Scandal
The first woman to ever rise to become the speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria got herself involved in a nerve-racking scandal that reverberated through the corridors of power in Nigeria.
Patricia Etteh was alleged to have laundered an incredible 628 million naira. Etteh claimed to have used the money to renovate her official residence and that of the deputy and that she only spent 240 million naira on the project which included the purchase of 12 brand new vehicles for the national assembly, but Nigerians would hear none of it. Nigerians called for her head and two months later she resigned from office. ‘We know say money no dey finish for Aso Rock, but Etteh nearly finish am’ was the expression of many Nigerians.
8. 2006 –Andy Uba, Obasanjo Money Laundering Scandal
One of the biggest scandals to emanate from Aso Rock during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration that spanned from 1999-2007 was the ‘Ubagate’ scandal of 2006. Andy Uba, who was previously a presidential aid to Obasanjo was caught smuggling huge amounts of cash into the United States. The implications would have fallen solely on Uba alone but for the fact that Uba, who didn’t know he was under surveillance was apprehended smuggling the money with a presidential jet.
Andy Uba was prosecuted and indicted in the US, but back here in Nigeria, the matter was swept under the rug and no one heard a thing about the issue anymore.
7. 2013 – Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Maryam Waisu Yaro Sex Scandal
In 2013, the Governor of the central bank of Nigeria was alleged to be in a full-blown sex scandal with a married woman named Maryam Yaro. This scandal was reported by Premium Times who accused the Central bank governor of using tax-payers’ money to fund his numerous romantic escapades with Mrs. Yaro (a married woman).
It was also reported that the CBN governor had gotten a high ranking job for Mrs. Yaro at the bank, without following due process. Sahara reporters even provided documented proof of this. Some of this nibbling scandals related to the governor ultimately led to the termination of his appointment by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
6. 2013 – Stella Oduah $1.6 Million BMW Scandal
In 2013, another minister with close ties to Aso Rock was alleged to have spent a whopping sum of $1.6 million (at least in #250 million) in the purchase of two armored vehicles. She was none other Mrs. Stella Odua. The scandal caught on the news like wildfire as Nigerians wondered why a single woman would launder so much money.
Many car dealers and manufacturers on hearing the outrageous amounts of which those cars were purchased, began releasing the real prices of those cars, but this did little to abase the fact that a cash-strapped aviation ministry, led by Mrs. Stella Odua had spent not less than #250 million of taxpayers money in the purchase of two cars.
5. 1998 – General Sani Abacha Money Laundering and Death
On 10th June, 1998, Nigerians woke up to the news that their head of state is no more! It was a shocker that seemed as fishy. Rumors had it that the late Head of state had been poisoned to death by prostitutes through poisoned apples. Others claimed he died during lovemaking with one of the numerous call girls at his disposal, none of which we can be substantiated. Many rumours surface about the death of the former head of state, all of which were never substantiated.
General Abacha’s death and money laundering scandal is a scandal which rocked Aso Rock for a long time. Till date, the name ’Sani Abacha’ still pops up in Aso Rock for all the wrong reasons. It is said that the Abacha’s loot is in excess of $400 million.
4. 2012 – Rape Scandal in Aso Rock
In 2012, 247ureports.com reported that there was a futile attempt by the Good luck Jonathan administration to cover up a rape scandal allegedly committed on an expatriate staff by President Jonathan’s personal assistant for domestic affairs, known simply as Dr. Temple.
The accused, was said to have crept into the room of the expatriate staff and had carnal knowledge of her without her consent. Unknown to the culprit he was being watched by security cameras in the victim’s residence.
It was reported that the accused was unceremoniously dismissed whilst the presidency did its best to keep the matter under wraps. The scandal remains an unsubstantiated allegation.
3. 2016 – House of Reps Members in Sex Scandal
According to multiple reports from our sources, 3 members of the House of Representatives were accused of rape by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle. The ambassador in a letter addressed to the speaker of the house of representatives had alleged that three members of the House, namely: Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Hon. Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Hon. Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) had in a recent visit to the United States solicited for paid sex as well as sexually harassing a hotel housekeeper.
Nigerians asked: “Na wetin we send them go do be that?” The lawmakers have since denied in strong term any wrongdoing while in the US. One news also had it that the US Ambassador to Nigeria was mandated to render an apology for defaming these members of the house of reps.
2. 2010 – Halliburton Bribery Scandal
The Halliburton scandal has the reputation of the being one of the largest bribery scandal ever to surface from Nigeria. This scandal is actually one that has kept spiralling down since 1994 when the Federal Government of Nigeria decided to undertake Bonny Island Natural Liquefied Gas Project. This project would go on to gulp an alarming $182 million in bribes given, with the project costing $6 billion in total.
This particular scandal is said to have indicted former United States Vice President Dick Cheney as well as popular British Lawyer, Jeffry Tesler. Other top officials of Halliburton were also indicated in the scandal. In Nigeria, no indictments were made.
But in 2010, an investigation by the EFCC revealed that Major General Chris Garuba who was former Governor of Bauchi State Nigeria, as well as 3 former Presidents before Goodluck Jonathan, all received bribes.
One Aso Rock name that stood out on the list of those who received bribe is that of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar. But as is the case with all high profile corruption cases in Nigeria, it fizzled out.
1. 2015 – Dasukigate Arms Deal Scandal
Attributed to be one of the most protracted and overblown scandal to emanate from Aso Rock in history; the Dasukigate arms scandal is one that needs no introduction. The Dasukigate is coined from two words; one is the surname of the chief culprit of the scandal Colonel Sambo Dasuki as well the word ‘gate’.
The confusing word here is the ‘gate’. The word ‘gate’ is typically used in every high profile scandal associated with the highest level of power. This is so after President Richard Nixon was implicated in the Watergate scandal that rocked America in 1972.
The Dasukigate money laundering scandal is said to have crossed the 2-billion-dollar boundary and has already implicated a host of prominent politicians, especially those close to the Goodluck Jonathan administration and the People Democratic Party (PDP).
As earlier stated, where there is power, there is bound to be scandals. While it is logical to state that leaders and followers are mere men alike, it is also not illogical to state that every man should bear the responsibility of their own excesses.
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