Rape in the market square!

By Adeolu C. Adekunle

Some enervating questions disturbed me as I thought of the state of the nation and Sanusi’s startling revelation about the missing crude oil revenue money. I found myself asking questions like – How did Nigeria get to this level? Can Nigeria retrace her steps? Is Nigeria continually wandering with no direction, and not calling for uncommon pro-active steps? Who will take the lead? Can corruption be done without in this country? I thought desert journey is supposed to last forty years

The reactions that trailed the explosive revelation by the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, have been passionate and perhaps very emotional too. It would have been gratifying if such momentum could be matched with a decisive action. It is however unfortunate that greater enthusiasm was exerted during the Stella Oduah N244 million car scandal that until she ceased to parade herself as the Honourable Minister of Aviation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No good has ever come from government committee in this administration except the personal gains of its members.

Nigeria is plagued with indecisive leaders who will prefer professional jargons to explain away crimes duly punishable under the law. The claim by the NNPC that only $10 billion could not be reconciled or accounted for is a clear indication that NNPC admitted in actual fact the leakage in the crude oil revenue account. Whether the said amount is $67, $20 or $10 billion remains irrelevant. What is paramount to the Nigerian folks is the location of the money or a proper account of how it’s been expended. Or what sense does NNPC kerosene subsidy make when the product still gets to the end users at an exorbitant price, despite a presidential order prohibiting such subsidy? This is another NNPC gambit deployed to defraud the common people.

Monumental corruption has been the hallmark of President Jonathan’s administration but what is uncertain is the extent Nigerians can condone it. The inability of Nigerians to demand for justice may have been responsible for gruesome corrupt practices in the country.

I was in a public bus from Benin to Lagos with a couple of undergraduate students. As the journey continued, one of them asked, “how is it possible that $20 billion is missing from the crude oil revenue account? Look at the road in a sorry state, no stable power supply and schools close gate for lack of funding. To worsen the case no one has ever been caught.” I was completely shattered by the response of one of them, “abeg, you worry too much! As for me I dey pray make dem no finish am o, because I still dey road I must chop my own too”, they all laughed over it and the reality dawned on me! The government romance with corruption and its failure to tame it has obviously sown seeds no one can possibly imagine.

There is no greater injustice a government can commit against its own people than the inability to account for its commonwealth. A raid has been launched against the nation’s wealth and we are all willing accomplice as our beloved country is being subjected to a rape in the market place. All we could do is allow bureaucracy get in the way of justice.

Governor Babatunde Fashola seems to have said it all. $10 billion in the security sector will go a long way at securing lives and properties. $10 billion would give our epileptic power supply a boost of 5,000mw in five years, as Mr. President rightly pointed out at the International conference of power and infrastructure financing held in Abuja. $10 billion will extensively upgrade the ill-equipped university teaching hospitals across the country and the health sector will be better for it.

The president’s reluctance to fight corruption is obvious and very worrisome at the same time. You would expect President Jonathan, the Minister of Petroleum and the management of NNPC to take the baton from Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by stepping out with facts and figures to prove there is no money missing, but such reaction is alien to this administration. Mr. President’s silence in the face of land sliding corruption is all a ruse to deny justice. The Ribadu’s Report which was a child of controversy before its submission is yet to be implemented. Also, the Farouk Lawan House Committee’s report on subsidy scam is a product of the President’s deliberate silence. Is it not pertinent to ask the National Assembly the next step after its current investigation of the whole CBN/NNPC debacle? Would justice be done or will this go down just like the others?

In the late period of 2005 through 2006, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission [EFCC] under the chairmanship of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu spit fire and brimstone; there was a modicum of hope for sanctity in the system. Even though it was obvious the crusade was one sided as it was directed more to the political opponent of Obasanjo, no one can disrepute the number of successes it achieved. In the face of the current situation, you will be forced to ask whether the same commission that hounded the former Inspector-General of Police, former Bayelsa Governor amongst others to prison still exists today.

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