It is unfortunate how corruption has been the bane of the Nigerian society even after independence. Our founding fathers had thought that they would be able to put an end to this cankerworm which actually has a long history in the development of human societies. Government after Government in Nigeria promised to tackle it but to no avail. Even the leader of the 15th January, 1966 aborted coup, Major Nzegwu said among others “The aim of the Revolutionary Council is to establish a strong, united and prosperous nation, free from corruption and national strife. Our enemies are the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent ….”
The late General Sani Abacha also talked about 10 per centers when he announced the Coup d’état of 31st December, 1983, and our present president General Muhammadu Buhari during his first coming as the leader of that Coup introduced and tried to pursue vigorously War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAI-C)
Former president Obasanjo also began a crusade to tackle corruption. President MUhammaduBuhari during his Political Campaigns Promised to tackle corruption, arguing that this bane of the Nigerian society has become so endemic now that if Nigeria does not kill it, corruption will kill Nigeria. Why did he make this strong and categorical declaration? He has seen that Nigeria has been laid bare and devastated as a result of corruption.
So, when president Buhari started his present war against corruption, we see a monumental corruption. Why this Monumental Corruption in Nigeria? This is the question that baffles our minds at the Arewa Trust.
The first is the arms purchase scandal. Somebody was given 400 million naira, another person 200 million naira and many others given various amounts of money that are in hundreds of millions of naira down to 100 million naira. Among the people are supposed elder statesmen and two of them said they would not pay back any Kobo!
Before this one, probes of petroleum products purchase and distribution and the administration of pension funds revealed monumental fraud and corruption as people were discovered to have simply pocketed millions and billions of naira. Also, several times in this country, Federal Government realized well over 100 billions naira due to detection of ghost workers. Also in this country, a whooping sum of 180 billions naira was recovered from a part of a Government House. Others include discovery and recovery of billions of naira buried on farms and others kept in unoccupied buildings.
Recently, Federal Government said it recovered 151 million US dollars and about 80 billions naira from fictitious Accounts within two months. Federal Government has since closed down over 20,000 such fictitious Accounts. In Nigeria, people build mansions and estates that are questionable and these mansions and estates are valued in billions of naira. The source of the money is questionable because the owners of these properties could not have made their money as Government workers or businessmen.
In some other countries, people make big money from farming, inventions, writing, music and other forms of intellectual property. People with creative minds and ingenuity are not our rich men in Nigeria of today.
They are not able to make much money from their sweats due to piracy. Our stinkingly rich men in Nigeria of today are the political profiteers, contractors, swindlers’ and businessmen, some of whom are hoarders of goods and evaders of taxes.
The ostentious lifestyle of our rich men created the wave of armed robbery and kidnapping we have in Nigeria today. That is why kidnappers demand hundreds of millions of naira as ramsome and lawyers charge millions of naira to procure judgment in favour of criminals and thieves standing trial in courts. Some people’s dispositions towards these crimes and criminalities do not help matters.
Many people come out to hail criminals and thieves when they are arraigned in courts and these criminals and thieves will be acknowledging cheers and weaving at those people as if they are heroes or they are being persecuted.
Some political profiteers who milked their states dry as a result of which they went to jail would be coming back home from jail and some people of the same state would gather in jubilation to welcome them as if they are heroes. Some of these ex-convicts are given positions and are rewarded in some other forms at times.
We at the Arewa Trust cannot understand how some people got the billions and trillions of naira they declare as assets when they want to contest elections. Yet, it is in this same country that millions of other people are just living on breadline daily. We, at the Arewa Trust, are baffled at the great wealth some people acquire in this short-live world as if they intend to carry some along with them when they die. Yet, we leave this world empty-handed the way we come empty-handed.
When President Muhammadu Buhari promised that he would lead other Nigerians to fight the war against corruption, he quickly admitted the stark reality that corruption would fight back. Corruption, a very dangerous and powerful monster that is as old as mankind is now fighting back vigorously. We, at the Arewa Trust, fervently pray that this war between Nigeria and corruption should not end in favour of corruption, Amen.