Wadume: High Crimes And Saints

In Nigeria’s current convoluted psycho-social landscape, the line between the law and the lawless becomes thinner by the day. Sometimes, there is no line at all as evidenced by the disclosures of a very wealthy kidnapper who is now ,as they say here, in police net. 

On August 6, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume was arrested by men of the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Police. Mr Wadume, a high profile kidnapper, was  allegedly set free by men of the army who also killed some of the arresting officers in cold blood. Those men said they acted on the orders of a Captain Tijani Balarabe.  
The army tried to paper over the tracks at first in the notion that it could get away with anything in Nigeria. But it is getting more painful for it to explain its role in the gruesome murder of policemen and freeing a suspect in the process. 
This is because Mr Wadume was “re-arrested” in another covert operation in Kano where he was hiding on Monday ,August 19.Since then, the somewhat Robin Hood figure has been singing.  Not many people like his songs. The lyrics are particularly excoriating to the ears of the army and the ruling party, APC. Shouldn’t the army be happy that a “millionaire” kidnaper has been arrested? Well, some of his millions go to some people in the army, according to Wadume. And as for the APC? Again, it would appear that they have money in common, according to Wadume:   “While I was being taken out of Ibi, Town, the policemen passed the first checkpoint which was being manned by some soldiers after they had identified themselves………
“I was shocked when the soldiers came after us and rained bullets on our bus, killing those policemen. I was almost killed in the encounter. I was then taken to the army captain’s house. When I saw the corpses of the policemen and their agents in front of the Captain’s house I became very disturbed and I pretended as if I wanted to urinate and I escaped from the scene”.

The army has not given up yet. It is not able to come to terms with the possibility that some of its men and officers do serious kidnapping as a paying sideline .And in giving different statements, it runs the risk of contractions. Its first position was that Mr Wadume was a victim of kidnapping and the dead police men were the captors.  That story has been rewritten more than twice. The latest one says: 

 “Following the arrest of the millionaire kidnap kingpin and his video broadcast which was released by the Police, certain pertinent questions have become necessary.

“Even if we had all the money, we would never allocate money for kidnappers and murderers. That era ended with PDP. Perhaps, he can name whoever gave him money. Definitely, it was not APC.”

For the army, the damage in image has been done not only because the police is better coordinated this time but equally because it acts too quickly to prove its innocence. 
And for Nigeria’s ruling APC,well,  Mr Wadume “confessed” to receiving 13 million Naira for the 2019 elections.  To take care of things, mafia things. It was his slice of  ” campaign fund ” out of which he spent 7 millions Naira. But the party denies this in a not so professional style. 

“Even if we had all the money, we would never allocate money for kidnappers and murderers. That era ended with PDP. Perhaps, he can name whoever gave him money. Definitely, it was not APC.”

Nigeria’s social media is in a vortex of Wadume’s photos with the Taraba state APC governorship candidate.  Some show him in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  In fact ,reports say that he was running for the house of assembly  under one of APC’s sister parties, YPP, but told to shelve the idea. 
This is certainly not the end of the drama. The army, an integral part of this very feckless government, will make unmeasured steps and commit more PR blunders. Another intriguing  twist is that, the police is showing rare courage and skills in this matter, several steps ahead of the army. 
One thing is certain.  It is impossible for the army to extricate itself from this most heinous crime.  It is also a bitter blow to the APC ,a shaky alliance, that needs PR to survive. 
When government agents commit crimes, they should be punished.  Anything less makes the government just as guilty. Worse still, when you reward criminals,  it encourages more criminals.  An army uniform doesn’t make any difference because, to quote George Bernard Shaw, “virtue is insufficient temptation”. 


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