By Asabe Audu Maikano
I am ardent reader of Sahara Reporters and I must confess, I have always admired their reporting style. I see them as one of the voices emancipating our country from undue grip of backwardness emanating from the activities of selfish privileged few whose desire is to run the country aground.
Their style of saying it as it is no matter who is under the spotlight has helped in enlightening many Nigerians on the atrocities happening under their noses yet they do not have the slightest clue. I still hold this view.
However, after reading the above titled exposé, I felt Sahara Reporters should tread their job with calculated caution else some vested interest wishing to hold down the progress of this nation feed them with misleading information in order to use this medium in reaching their hidden devious agenda.
Indeed it is the peak goal of any media house to be the first to break the hot news especially of hidden scandals, however, a professional media house will first tarry a while and investigate further before going public with a career damning report because of the consequences it definately will have on the victims of the report if it turns out there is misinformation somewhere.
It is to buttress this point that I thought of writing this rejoinder. There may be something amiss from the above titled report by the afore-mentioned medium. I simply want to make a case for the Buratai wives’ source of income which perhaps explains their ability to own the property in question in conjunction with their husband.
Even though not directly, I happen to know the Buratais a long time before their husband reached the top rank he now holds. I established this relationship with them through a business venture they run even before their husband began to hold what Nigerians refer to as juicy posts.
To be precise, Lt. General Buratai’s wives run a registered loans scheme venture which they call ‘SANA’ARMU’, a cooperative whereby they offer particularly women and other less privileged persons soft loans ranging from ten thousand naira to higher amounts in order to venture into farming and other legitimate preoccupations.
To join, one would have to sign legal documents signifying agreement to the terms and condtions which include weekly remittance of ten percent of the total profit one has accrued from the revolving loan. Thus while one recipient may be turning in one thousand weekly, another may be turning in ten thousand and even higher depending on the amount collected. This deposits are documented in the recipient’s own name. After a year, all the contributions one had made are reviewed and shared according to a ratio of fifty/fifty between the cooperative and the recipient.
This transaction continues until such a time when one has repaid the loan, from whence, if the recipient wishes, she terminates the contract or continues and that is the actual time when the venture begins to make profit. This is a sheme involving hundreds of beneficiaries among whom is this writer.
I must confess, this venture had helped me out of dire need as a graduate who could not find a job after 10 years of graduating with a 2/1 degree in English Language from a first generation Nigerian university. When we enrollled, we did so as a group of four and were remitting at least one thousand each weekly from our groundnut oil making proceeds, now we have split into four different individuals running their separate businesses.
Today, I proudly run a popcorn, yoghurt, groundnut oil and its kuli-kuli by product making businesses. In addition, it has helped me in buying a commercial vehicle which I have leased out and a modest plot of land where I plant soya beans! Today, I have turned out not just a business person but also an employer of labour invoving women and a man who are also benefitting indirectly from the Buratai wives co-operative venture.
The good news is even the driver of my commercial vehicle now owns his own golf car which he has leased out too. As I have earlier mentioned, I enrolled into this business at a time when this COAS and husband to these distinguished women was a Brigadier General.
I do not know when they started the venture what I know is that those presently involved in the sheme are over a thousand and this sheme has been on for over five years. Resultantly, if I as a benefiary is able to turn around my loan into these other investments, how much do you think the wives are worth?
My point is, what is wrong in such industrious women buying property, in conjunction with their husband, from any part of the world? Infact, the report only added to the respect I hold for the General for the fact that he has to jointly own property along with his wives at a time when his mates as Generals are single handedly owning porshe estates from different parts of the world! If this is not a sign of financial discipline, honest earning and planning please what else is?
And at what price did they jointly own the property? Sahara Reporters quoted 120million Naira! Going by the scandalous revelations emanating from financal recklessnesses of our powers that be, how much is 120 million Naira that Lt.General Buratai will not single handedly own this property if indeed the money is from proceeds of corruption?
It is for this reason that I call on Saharareporters and other news outlets to be cautious in going to press with just any increminating news because those feeding them with the information might be doing so with a different motive. This is especially so seeing that this COAS is bent on fighting any form of insurgency pants down and for sure, sponsors of such instability will go to any extent in fighting dirty.
Furthermore, of what investigative importance is it publishing the international passports of this women thereby exposing them to the risk of falling into the hands of fraudsters and impostors?
What relevant evidence does publishing their private documents add to the information of illegal purchase of a property in Dubai, if at all we can call the transaction as such? In my opinion, this has served only in transgressing into the privacy of the women because merely quoting their passport numbers would have surficed if indeed it was necessary.
Bearing in mind that this news medium is operating from the USA, is such an act legal over there? Besides, there are discrepancies in the story which the medium may wish to review.
At this point, I wish to advice the COAS not to be distracted from his focus of fighting crime in Nigeria as many of us have not had it better in a long time. We understand many of the agitations and vandalisms going on as an attempt to portray this crop of leaders as incapable of ridding the country of its bedevilling insecurity thus causing the public to lose confidence in their leadership. But we know better.
Those who have benefitted from past govenment rascality are busy using different diversionary tactics to bury their footprints hence will not allow those who have shown signs of competence do their job. It is a sign of strength of character for one to wade through his challenges successfully with head high.
We believe devine hands will protect and guide you in doing the right thing and will continue to bless your wives’ efforts to earn legimate living.
Maikano is a house wife and contributed this piece from Kaduna, Kaduna State.