by David Dimas,
I am one of the very many analysts who are optimistic about the future of Nigeria. Mostly, I do my best to present the positive side of the land and strive to clear the mistaken impression painted by foreign media especially when answering questions about Nigeria from non-Nigerian colleagues. But of recent, the historical and evolving cases of in-your-face corruption and insecurity tales emanating from the oil-rich country is making me look like one who escaped from Yaba and hopped on the plane to “the land of the free and home of the brave”.
A month ago, Nigeria’s Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo revealed that Nigeria spent a whopping sum of $1bn as subsidy on kerosene in 2015. Also, a report from the US Energy Information Administration Nigeria imported 1.25 million barrels of kerosene from the United States in 2015.
The last time I checked, the commodity is being sold at over N300 per litre to millions of family units across the country.
To understand how kerosene, the common man’s hope of cooking, became a product that made a few Nigerians and their coadjutors billionaires, we need to understand how Kerosene subsidy fraud has gone detected but unresolved.
The present Emir of Kano His Royal Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, then Governor of the Central bank, exposed a long existing Kerosene Subsidy scam by blowing the lid of the case of corruption championed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and marketers of the product. In what could be best described as breathtaking display of disingenuousness from the legislative body, the members of the national assembly conducted and concluded their investigations with no officials of the NNPC or the marketers involved charged or indicted. It is amazing how such violations of public trust often go unchallenged in Nigeria.
The same Sanusi Lamido Sanusi alerted Nigerians that Twenty Billion Naira had mysteriously vanished between NNPC and Central Bank. The whistleblower was shown the door out of the apex bank and the case died ‘a natural death’. How about that for a solution to alleged corruption?
Then there was the $6bn fuel subsidy fraud report which revealed that a total of 15 fuel importers and more than 100 oil marketers collected more than $300m over a period of two years without importing any product like they claimed to have done. Again, the case enjoyed media coverage but quickly joined the Kerosene subsidy scam case in the grave.
How can I forget how 2014 ushered in the arms procurement saga; Nigerians were treated to international disgrace when the South African government seized suitcases conveying $9.3 million cash belonging to Nigerian government on a private jet at an airport in Johannesburg.
Season two of the arms deal reality drama took off in 2015. Two billion dollars; funds appropriated for the purchase of military weapons was shared among government officials and their surrogates while many civilians and members of the military lost their lives and land to Islamic Insurgents.
To show their concern, Nigerians voted for ‘Change’. But the APC-led Executive and the legislative arm of Government became embarrassed by the drama that handed Senator Bukola Saraki the gavel. As if that was not enough, the Budget Padding scandal and ballooning economic hardship at the grassroots dented their reputation of the new government of change.
The Judiciary was not left out of this flow of embarrassing information from the corridors of power. The sting operation that gave Nigerians an idea of how rotten the Nigerian Bench received backlash from Nigerians. It turned friends into enemies as kinsmen of the affected judges cried foul.
If you think the drama is over, then you most likely have not been paying much attention to how we handle issues related to religious in Nigeria.
While news about the killers of a female Christian preacher who was hacked to death in the early hours of July 9th in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, those accused of murdering Bridget Agbahime in Kano June of 2016 have been set free by a magistrate court.
By the way, the alleged Fulani herdsmen’s attacks have continued unabated across the country. The killers attack both protected and unprotected communities and kill with impunity. Surprisingly, no “herdsman” has been held accountable for the atrocities being committed. To many, it looks like the government is downplaying the severity of this growing act of genocide by the “faceless” killers.
The latest tale is that of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Church in Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari kicked out the Executive Secretary of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, for trying to implement its own law. To me, we seem to be clueless about the importance of adequate implementation and enforcement of established laws. We have also compromised our mission to engender respect for rule of law in our society; A society where people who forget who they are and ask “Do you know who I am” would be quickly reminded that we could care less who they are as long as their acts are frowned at by established law of the land.
As it is, we live in a culture people seem to be more attached to their emotions and sentiments rather than to reality and doing what is right.
More than ever before, we need to show commitment to reforms, respect for rule of law and adequate law enforcement. Only then the world would recognize our readiness to curb the constant flow of embarrassing information and scenarios from Nigeria.
Laurel, Maryland, U.S.A