Nigeria: A nation at war with its citizens? Tony Marinho, The Nation

Nigeria: A nation at war with its citizens?


Nigeria is a country where its leaders are at war with the citizenry and who plunder it as a captured territory. We are told not to be impatient, that change will come, and that good things take time to develop. This is a cover-up for Corruption, Incompetence and Negligence and Selfishness – CINS. Are we snails in an IT/space age world? For many years we have begged government to approve N17-20 billion for library book boxes in all 70,000 schools as a way of bridging the education gap. The pension scam is now at N180 billion or N1800/Nigerian. Almajiri schools are necessary but children in many city, village and town ‘rubbish schools’ across the country are local Almajiri -not better off and begging for a decent education. They have dirty walls and an empty learning environment and taught by teachers lacking teaching aids like books, encyclopaedias or science equipment. It is reported that Governor Okorocha uses the security vote, estimated at N50 million/month, for education and health projects. He is to be emulated, though giving cash handouts to children is of questionable value but it does cut out the middleman contractor in the school food chain. There are bullying parents and students who may extort the money. What hope have we really got in Nigeria from this crop of 1999-2012 politicians and civil servants? It is incomprehensible that we still do not have more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power for a country not at war while other countries are planning trillions of MWs from solar power by 2020 while we waste our sun. We need Solar Energy Commissions at LGA and State level. If war comes from Tuaregs, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, MEND etc, will PHCN provide- zero power? But many communities are permanently powerless. Nigerians have suffered war conditions for 30 years –no electricity, no water, poor roads and corruption. Which really is the best performing state in the elusive Millennium Development Goals? The MDGs are international targets and easily measurable yardsticks forcing governments to put more money into development and as a result hopefully have less to steal. Imagine for a moment if all the stolen money over the years had been used for purpose; just imagine how well developed we would have by now. All Nigerians in authority must know that it is cheaper to be competent and corruption-less than self-enriching. The reward of corruption is often non-performing family members and spiralling expense as corruption breeds greed. Just as we have second and third generations of neglected teachers who have never seen an encyclopaedia, we now have the third generation of the corrupt and cultists holding posts in government and Professors or Vice Chancellors in universities. What hope for our children? It is the leadership that is too poor in skills to make Nigeria great. What works? What is the scorecard? Nigeria’s leaders and managers of pension funds plunder N180b, plunging millions to death, misery, penury and a life of limited expectations and often an early grave. It takes 13 years to get us a half expressway, Lagos Ibadan. Weak railway structure too slow on the uptake. Ports so poor our goods are unloaded abroad. Our refineries so bad our fuel is refined abroad. All this and they are seeking re-election? Wives of Presidents and governors and LGA Chairmen must reduce their entourages and overhead costs and roll up their sleeves and identify with the poor and stop making ‘donations’. Instead they should ‘Give on behalf of the government and citizens’. Nigeria is reduced to a kako-kalo, lottery, country where 2000+ instant millionaire are made annually and instant ‘win a car’ have replaced any desire or motivation for hard work. The only real thing coming from governments at all levels is the increasing burden of yet more taxes, legal and illegal so that more money will be available to steal. Is it not an idiocy that NEC and Ministry of Finance are still talking about multiple taxation as if they are not in the same country but warring countries? Enough talk, just stop it! Until government stops the government thieves, the money should be left in the pockets of the people. The only benefit of being a Nigerian –oil- has been removed. The epidemic of public transport-related rape, kidnap, robbery, ransom and murder for ritual purposes should engage the politicians and police at the highest and DPO level. Everyone using public transport is in danger. Rather than the expensive FRSC and even Police registration methods we need new approaches. It may be alright to apply such FRSC and Police registration to newly registered vehicles and licence renewals, which should last five, not three, years. Over a few years sanity will be introduced. An easily seen registration number should be introduced for all commercial public transport taxis, motorcycles-okadas and minibuses-danfos. Such a registration number should be large, easily read, easy to remember and in clearly readable separated digits and letters and in luminous paint for night reading. Tests should be done to ensure easy readability at 10 metres. Citizens should be warned about boarding vehicles with only men in them but women have often been known to be part of theses gangs. Citizens should always be on their guard. Rape is under-reported. Living is too difficult for the ordinary Nigerian. Nigeria’s public servants and politicians should stop the war and stop plundering Nigeria. Nigeria is not conquered territory-yet. ? Tony Marinho, The Nation


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