By Usama Dandare
President Muhammadu Buhari gave an exclusive interview to Daily Telegraph last week where he discussed several pressing national issues affecting the image of Nigerians in the global arena but some mischievous elements who are hell-bent on creating confusion within society are twisting Mr President’s statement saying that he referred to Nigerians as criminals. To set the record straight, Daily Telegraph published the ful details of the interview which has since generated controversy especially in the online media, but yet, the collective children of anger are still going around doing what they knows best: creating nothing out of something.
Since they insists, let’s all assume President Buhari truly said Nigerians are criminals. Even if he said so, was he lying? Are we not criminals? When has calling a spade by it name “SPADE” became an offense? Why do we always choose to live in self-delusion instead of coming to terms with the reality? Why are we always unpalatable so as not to demarket country after being officially self-demarketed in the eyes of the world long ago?
I often say that the biggest phenomena tarnishing the image Nigerians overseas is not what the west perceived about us but the misguided Nigerians living in deluded elucidations and the unpalatable ones who outrightly get furious whenever the truth about Nigeria is told. What’s wrong in saying things as they are? Why are we always allergic to the truth?
Is it wrong to call criminal a country where it president looked into the eyes of world leaders and said “stealing is not corruption”? After telling another summit that what we have in Nigeria are just petty thieves not corrupt people. The president was trying to defend a country where a serving state governor disguised in women clothes and jumped bail from the United Kingdom after being arrested for stealing public funds and most annoying, he was welcomed back home amidst a mammoth crowd that came out to greet him.
I wonder if there’s any appropriate name to describe a country where$20billion of taxpayers’ money developed wings and flew away overnight rather than a country of criminals; a country where schools, airports, hospitals, streets, stadiums, museums and other monuments are being named after treasury looters and pen robbers. A country where chieftaincy titles are bought and given to criminals and murderers against established traditional institutions, corrupt looters of public funds in the government and fraudsters aka “yahoo yahoo boys” or ‘419iers’ are celebrated and crowned kings against the customs of our forefathers because they doled out their ill gotten money to the traditional king makers.
This is Nigeria: a nation where a governor-elect (yet to be sworn-in governor) led thugs into a courtroom and physically manhandled a sitting judge right on his lordship seat and went away with it unchecked; a nation where politicians are hiring assassins to assassinate opposition politicians; a nation where the rich elites are above the law while the poor masses continues to rot in jail awaiting trial. If Nigerians are not criminals, then there’s nothing called crime.
Do you know that over 25,000 Nigerians are being held in various prisons abroad (more than any African country) while 810 are waiting to die in death rows? They were mostly convicted of fraud, robbery, prostitution and drug-related crimes. Is this clear testimony not enough to tell the world that Nigerians are indeed criminals? Why is it that only one Briton has ever been sentenced to death in Nigeria in 2007 but later freed in a prisoners swap deal? Why are other African nations not having large number of their citizens in foreign prisons or are we the only ones residing in those countries?
Do you know that Nigeria has the highest number of social media 419ier (scammers) in the whole world? You may not be aware of this sad development but my fellow active social media users knows what i am talking about, there are varieties of methodology used by Nigerians to dupe innocent people which has been creating so much disaffection among social media users over the years. A monumental national disparaging crime which has however proven to represent a good portion of the Nigerian GDP as they are a great way to make money from dumb Americans. And I suppose Europeans, Asians and other Africans fall victim to these schemes, too. Interestingly, it has reached a stage in Nigeria today where a father will write his son via social media but the son has to verify the authenticity of his father’s account first before replying his dad not to disclose sensitive information to a scammer. In short, just search your name on Facebook and you will be shock to see how many active Facebook accounts you may have and unknown to you, these scammers have been soliciting for financial assistance on your behalf. All these criminalities are innovated and being committed by Nigerians but yet, we claim we are not criminals.
Most annoyingly, these same wailers twisting Buhari’s statement today are the same praise-singers that praised former President Jonathan for given a state pardon to convicted and condemned criminals yesterday, they are the same people defending Diezani Alison-Madueke for stealing Nigeria dry and the same people who came all out to defend Stella Oduah for purchasing two BMW cars at a miraculous price of a tokumbo jet and presenting fake school certificates for ministerial screening before the Senate. What a hypocrisy!
Nevertheless, when evil tends to become a culture in a society like it seems in Nigeria nowadays, where crime and criminals are seen to be glorified and worshiped by those whom the youths looks up to as idols and role models, frankly speaking, the soul of that society is dangerously destroyed. The hearts of the generation of such a society are shattered because their future has been mortgaged into the hands of the devil incubating a full blown city of Sodom and Gomorrah. A city where anything goes, where immorality will be exhibited, pains, deaths, corruption, celebration of criminality and wailing will be justified.
Park well my brother. Let’s drop aside our stupidity and embrace the truth. We should stop deceiving ourselves by being so anxious about the image of our country only in words while we keep forgotten that image when committing various crimes, but after the worst has been done, we begin to wail that so and so are demarketing our nation after all our sheer immorality and gross irresponsibility tells who we are as a nation. President Mohammedu Buhari didn’t say “Nigerians are criminals” and even if he said so, he’s definitely right because that is exactly what we are. Criminals and nothing but Criminals!