A source has revealed that the late Mike Akhigbe, a retired Vice Admiral, whose last position in public office was Chief of General Staff – de facto vice president – in the military regime of General Abdusalami Abubakar (9 June 1998 – 29 May 1999), left each of his children a billion naira ($3.17m) in cash when he died from cancer in October 2013.
Akhigbe was military governor of Ondo State from September 1985 to August 1986 and Lagos State from August 1986 to July 1988. After his stint in Lagos he became Director, Naval Plans, Naval Headquarters, Flag Officer commanding the Easter Naval Command and Chief of Naval Staff before being elevated to Chief of General Staff.
He was alleged to have been involved in oil smuggling that lost Nigeria billions of dollars in revenue, using the likes of current Senator Stella Oduah as a front via her company Sea Petroleum and Gas (allegedly owned by Akhigbe). As Akhigbe was facilitating the bankrupting of the country, the navy and the states he ran, his personal fortunes were swelling.
The source said that the amounts his children received in cash were in addition to other assets. Someone once said “the poor are poor because the rich are rich”. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Nigeria, in which there is poverty across the land directly as a result of the theft of the likes of Mike Akhigbe, who was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) in 1998 for alleged “service to the nation”.
St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great in the “City of God”. The Emperor asked the pirate: “How dare you molest the seas?” The pirate responded: “Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.” The small-time oil thieves in the Niger Delta are called “bunkerers” and harassed by the authorities, while the likes of Akhigbe stealing on a grand scale, using the Nigerian Navy, were celebrated and honoured.