THE NEW FACE OF CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
THE NEW FACE OF CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
"The Nigeria of today is far from what we thought it would become when we were young" said one distraught elderly man.
The Nigeria of today is riddled with the spikes of corruption from all angles. The Politicians have made a caricature of those who voted them in power through their excessive exploitation and wasteful use of tax payers' money.
What is the state of corruption in Nigeria today?
Welcome to another exposé on the Nigerian state. We define corruption as the conduct expressed by any office-holder who engages in bribery, embezzlement, dishonest or fraudulent behavior for personal gain.
Investopedia defines corruption thus: “Dishonest behavior by those in positions of power, such as managers or government officials. Corruption can include giving or accepting bribes or inappropriate gifts, double dealing, under-the-table transactions, manipulating elections, diverting funds, laundering money and defrauding investors”.
Without much ado, it is then right to say that the above definitions apply strictly to the Nigeria of today, no wonder Transparency International ranked Nigeria as the 33rd most corrupt nation in the world; it is no wonder then that corruption has continued to be a menace in the political sphere. The politicians, Judiciary, Police, Civil service, PHCN, Private sector and indeed all other agencies of government are not left out in this ugly dais.
Recently, Princess Stella Oduah, the former Minister of Aviation came under intense scrutiny when it was admitted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that it purchased two bulletproof cars for the Minister at an eye-popping $1.6 million (the highest cost of each car goes for $267, 000 in the US and UK). The public outcry at this misuse of power and wastage of taxpayers' money was treated with kid gloves by the President who should have out-rightly dismissed the Minister even when evidence of her misconduct was proved.
But the presidency made a performance. Stella Oduah continued to serve with all the allegations and proof of misconduct against her person. But in a bid to save face, she was later dismissed. It is true to say that our government lacks the proper mechanism to checkmate and stall this unmerited abuse of power and total disregard for accountability.
Sadly, because of the government's wishy-washy attitude and inability to nip in the bud these unfavorable acts dashed the masses, many cases of corruption have sky-rocked. The recent inquiry into the missing 20 billion dollars as alleged by the former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, opened a canister of secrets and revelations of unspeakable tales of corruption in high places which eventually resulted in the suspension of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Governor of the apex bank in Nigeria.
A new report by KPMG, a renowned audit and consultancy company states:
"… N25bn was deducted as subsidy estimate for September 2009 from domestic crude sales proceeds while PPPRA approved a subsidy of N23.8bn. N35bn was also deducted as subsidy estimate from November 2009 but PPPRA approved of N21.3bn.”
Simply put, the report states that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over-deducted as example the months of September and November while giving approval for a different sum. The report continues:
“Over-deduction for these two months amounted to N14.9 billion. However, only N4.2.bn was swept into the Federation Account by the NNPC as adjustment for subsidy claimable in the two months.”
This amounts to monumental fraud on the part of NNPC; it shortchanged the states as a result of greed by hands at the helms of affairs. These few greedy individuals who siphon tax payers’ money to save for their unborn children are still holding sway in their respective offices without being held accountable for their actions.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi reported of a missing 20 billion dollars supposedly should have been remitted to the Federation account but suddenly went missing. In his theory, he alleged a gross but calculated corruption case against NNPC whom he claimed were depriving Nigerians their natural means of sustenance by allowing the revenue to be pocketed by crooks. His accusation and counter-accusation from the big-bellied men who patrolled the offices of the NNPC brought him to his knees and his subsequent suspension.
The question is why is corruption so enshrined in the blood of our leaders? Why do our leaders betray their own people who trusted them to lead? Why would the EFCC and ICPC allow itself to become a witch-hunting tool for those in power and forget to face its responsibilities? Why would a government watch helplessly as this impunity takes a stronghold on our people? Why have those responsible not faced the music? These and many more questions arrest our minds like the slap from a mighty warrior.
It is indeed disgraceful and absolute wickedness on the part of our leaders to condone corruption. In spite of the numerous charges and allegations against the serving Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, nothing has been done to check her excesses. She came under the radar because of her extravagant and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money for personal gains. It was uncovered recently that the Minister enjoyed the luxury of a chartered jet which incurred 10billion Naira of Taxpayers’ money in just 2 years. She also enjoyed the luxury of another chartered plane still on tax payers’ money for a whopping €600,000 for a return trip. Sadly, the President deemed it fit to nominate her as Nigeria’s candidate to chair the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
Nigeria is a failed state; this is so because of the inept manner state affairs are handled. Every government with the interest of the masses at heart strives within every possible means to disassociate itself from corrupt officials rather than condone their excesses.
How atrocious of our leaders to play to the gallery when issues of such importance are being discussed. Corruption is flying high in Nigeria and our leaders are the champions. They neglect the duties and responsibilities thrust on them to alleviate the sufferings of the masses by providing social amenities to indulging in acts of gross misconduct. They sit one and all in their gigantic mansions planning on how to suck us dry.
The recent decision by the Nigerian Government to peter out of a corruption case against Mohammed Abacha is truly ridiculous. Mohammed Abacha the son of ex-Military ruler, Sani Abacha, was arraigned before a High Court on a nine-count charge of fraudulently receiving the sum of $141.1million and $384.35million.
Private prosecutor to the government Daniel Enwelum, on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) effected the withdrawal of the criminal case against Mohammed Abacha just for cheap political points to the chagrin of all. So what happens to the stolen money? How kooky!
Many have called this act stupid and ill-informed considering that it serves no good purpose for the masses.
The government has shown how derelict, fraudulent, mendacious and insincere they are in fighting for the common goal of all. It is a discredit to the government of today to condone and accept corruption while the masses continue in abject poverty.
The government must wake up to its responsibilities and tackle this issue with iron hands; mechanisms must be put in place to expel those responsible for gross misconduct to serve as deterrent to others. Capital punishment should be imposed as punishment for any corrupt official to forestall future excesses. Be that as it may, it is time for the emergence of a new leader who has no trace of the old stock!
Now is time to act!
Photo Credit: Arowolo, NationalMirror newspaper; Asukwo EB; Dada; Basati; Nigerianworld; BusinessDay; obilonu; vanguardngr
A piece of creative writing by
Alexander Thandi Ubani