Again, Buhari Explains 1984 Money-filled 53 Suitcases Scandal, The Role Played By Atiku, Others | News Proof

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Again, Buhari Explains 1984 Money-filled 53 Suitcases Scandal, The Role Played By Atiku, Others


Muhammadu Buharu
President Muhammadu Buhari has once again explained the alleged scandalous 53 suitcases filled with money ferried into the nation when all borders were closed.

Buhari in 2014 interviews with The Sun Newspaper, which is just republished details all that transpired concerning the 53 suitcases.

The 53 suitcases saga arose in 1984 during the currency change exercise ordered by the Buhari junta when it ordered that every case arriving the country should be inspected irrespective of the status of the person behind such. 


The 53 suitcases were, however, ferried through the Murtala Muhammed Airport without Customs check by soldiers allegedly at the behest of Major Mustapha Jokolo, the then Aide-de-Camp, ADC, to Gen. Buhari. Atiku was at that time the Area Comptroller of Customs in charge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.

When question relating to the 53 suitcases was asked again, below is the responses of President Muhammadu Buhari.

During your tenure, one case kept coming up: the 53 suitcases. You had ordered the border shut and your Aide de Camp (ADC), Major Jokolo, was alleged to have escorted 53 suitcases into the country. What happened? Why were you selective?

There was nothing like 53 suitcases. What happened was that there was my chief of protocol; he is now late. He had three wives, and I think about 12 children. He was in Saudi Arabia as Nigeria Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He was in Libya before, as ambassador and later, he was posted to Saudi Arabia. And then, I appointed him as my chief of protocol and he was coming back. Three wives, about 12 children. And then, by some coincidence, the late Emir of Gwandu, the father of Jokolo, who was my ADC then, was coming back with the same flight. And somehow, some mischievous fellows, everything, including the handbag of maybe, their small daughters, were counted as suitcases. 

Atiku then was the Commandant of Murtala Muhammed Airport as customs officer. And that day, we were playing squash. Jokolo my ADC and I. At some point, I said to him, ‘Mustapha, is your father not coming back today again?’ He said, ‘yes, sir, he is coming.’  I said, ‘what are you doing here? Why can’t you go and meet your father?’ He said yes, sir. He went to wash and meet his father. I am telling you there was no 53 bags of suitcases. It was a bloody lie. It was a bloody mischief.

So, not that he was detailed?

No, he was not detailed. He was not even about to go. I was the one who made him to go and meet his father. He was a respected emir, in fact, if not the most respected emir in the North then. He was learned, he had fantastic credibility and personal integrity. And this man was just coming on posting with his wives and children and they counted every imaginable thing, they said 53 suitcases.

 Was that why Atiku was retired?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think I retired Atiku. I can’t recall because I had nothing against anybody.

 But the argument was that the border was ordered shut. So, how did those people then come in?

They came by air. We didn’t stop aircraft coming in. They came by air, from Jedda to Lagos. They didn’t drive through Chad to Maiduguri and… People just say 53 suitcases when all borders had been ordered shut because that is how you can sell your papers.

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