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Re: Bogged down by greed and selfishness

THE qualitative views we got from our readers on the piece with the above title reveals that many Nigerians are aware that the main reason our growth has been stifled all these years, causing us untold sufferings,  are the greed, selfishness and lack of accountability of those in places of authority. 

What can be done to stop these unwholesome practices which don’t give us hope for the future? A reader gave names of some individuals/companies working against the interests of our development, but we’ve left those out, to avoid cases of libel.

Besides, unless one is armed with authentic evidence which one is prepared to hand over to the EFCC or ICPC, publishing these names would be an unfruitful exercise. One reader wondered how these people, some of whom are ardent members of one religion or the other, can live with their conscience, granted that most religions condemn what they are doing.

“Madam, why is it that in spite of the ever-increasing number of various churches, mosques, and other religions in our country, unholy practices continue to be on the rise; not to mention criminal activities?   Why would someone who takes the Holy Communion, goes on pilgrimage, or even goes about spreading the word of God, be involved in contract scams, thieving and cheating, and abuse of power and authority?  What do these people say to God when they pray?

Could it be that they worship another type of god who condones these odious practices?  I’m baffled that a nation like Nigeria that is so religious-conscious would be ranked among the most corrupt nations in the world.  We seem to be worshiping money and power, and we don’t care about the poverty and state of hopelessness prevailing around us.

By the way, I do fear God, but I worship Him my own way in the privacy of my home.   I don’t belong to any religious organization any longer. Thanks.  JTO, Sapele, Delta State.

Mechanised farming

“Aunty Helen, good day. With regards to your write-up ‘Bogged down by greed and selfishness’, my recommendations are: (a) All the five refineries in Nigeria are obsolete; producing below installed capacity.  (b) The NNPC should be the sole importer of refined petroleum products i.e. AGO, PMS, ATK, etc.

Subsidy payment to independent marketers should be stopped. (c) All the major/independent importers/marketers of refined petroleum products, should be compelled by  the Federal Government to plough ninety percent of their huge earnings over the years, into large scale mechanized farming, thereby converting their Tank Farms into SILO’s for storage of Agricultural products.  (d).

All nine NDDC states in conjunction with the multi-national oil companies operating in their domain should be compelled by the Federal Government to build at least one modern refinery in the oil producing communities, to provide jobs for the youths and most especially, for the repentant ex-militants. By the way, it’s true that coconuts from Ghana are sweet and fleshy.  From Celestine, mnse,frc’

“Helen, I read your article on our greed and selfishness.  The Ghana coconut is a new one on me too. Na wao.  Pity! Great Pity!  You are right about the fuel importation.  It is alleged that there are vested interests, and our politicians/top government officials are themselves the perpetrators. You say ‘government should take serious steps to encourage local productions’.

Where is the government?  Who is the government?  Are you sure the fertilizer contractors are supplying anything?  Aren’t even those supplied cornered and misappropriated, and the real farmers shortchanged?   It’s a vicious circle.   Na only God fit save us o!” “Helen Ovbiagele, with regards to your piece, I think to be honest and sincere is a good thing.” — Engr. R.B. Mfon.

“Madam Helen, greed and selfishness are part and parcel of the human life, nevertheless, we have a choice not to be any of them.  These vices are not limited only to Nigerians in authority or power, but are global; judging by the inquiries that are going on presently in the British parliament about all sorts of illegal allowances that some of the MPs have been claiming over the years.

Some claimed money for houses occupied by their relatives, which they say they use as their legitimate second homes as allowed by parliament.  There were some mean and ridiculous claims like for building a duck pond, library subscription, bus fare, private clubs subscription, etc.  The offending Mps are being seriously pursued to pay back these dubious claims , and some have apologized and are paying back.  The matter is seriously hampering the political lives of these MPS and their  chances of being re-elected.

The sums involved, even at the highest point, is child’s play compared with huge public funds that are being audaciously carted away by public officers in our country.  Instead of us pursuing them for full repayment, we’re wasting further public funds by throwing them into prison.  Silly waste of time and money.  They’ll come out and then begin to enjoy the stolen funds. Can’t we ever get things right?”  —Pa Edet, Calabar.

“Sister Helen, You have written well, encouraging local production, as one who has the nation’s interests at heart, but the SAP mantra of trade liberalisation and deregulation wouldn’t allow the leaders to open their eyes and mind.”  —Layi

“My sister, if you want to know how obstructive,  public officers and even the rulers who make the policies, are to the nation, try to set up an industry.    Some years ago, I wanted to set up a small factory manufacturing children’s clothes because I thought that it is ridiculous for us to be importing outfits for children when we have good textile factories in Nigeria, and we can make these outfits cheap and tailored for all pockets.  Why should we buy second hand outfits for our young children?  That didn’t seem healthy to me.

Fired by the zeal to do something for our children, I went about it in a determined way.  I  got in a consultant to do all the necessary work for setting up a small clothing industry.  To get building approval for the factory on my plot of land was an uphill task, and when you get one, the demolition squad comes to put a red X on your wall.  For what?   No-one could explain.  Registration of business, and also bringing in equipment are daunting tasks.

There’s so much bureaucracy surrounding any sort of approval for a business in Nigeria, and like you rightly said, you have to grease palms.   The consultant said it was a necessary evil if you want to get on, but I just couldn’t cope.  My money ran out and I quit. All the money I had spent went down the drain, and I still had to pay the consultant.  If I had set up the factory, I would have been able to take a few people off the unemployment market.   Mama Debola, Lagos Island.

“Madam, until there’s a revolution, we’ll continue to import what we can manufacture in this country, because the hawks at the top of everything, fatten their pockets through importation. The Bible says man toils and amasses great wealth, not knowing if he would live long enough to enjoy it, or if fools will come and mis-manage this wealth when he’s gone.

We block the way for others to have a decent life, yet this life is not forever.  Why do we still have to import petroleum products when we have five refineries in the country?  Why is cooking gas so expensive when there’s much gas flaring in the NIGER DELTA?   We need to repent.  Thanks.  Festus, Anambra.”


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