August 4, 2020

Before corruption kills Nigeria

THE three-point agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC: Anti-Corruption, fixing the Economy and Securing the country, was so catchy as it encapsulates the contemporary needs of the country; hence, Nigerians quickly bought into it in 2015.

A perceived “upright” and “no-nonsense” leader like Buhari was an icing on the cake. Five years later, the economy appears to be the only spot of hope due mainly to the gallant efforts the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under Godwin Emefiele, has made at every turn to front the Federal Government’s fiscal policy responses.

The Security and Anti-Corruption aspects, after initially swinging like yoyos, have suddenly taken deep dives. From the single threat of Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria is enmeshed in general insecurity all over the country due to herdsmen terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

The Anti-Corruption agenda has been thrown into total chaos. Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, and associates are under a presidential probe for allegedly re-looting the funds and properties recovered from suspects and convicts. The corruption mess is evident almost everywhere.

The Armed Forces (especially the Army), Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Federal Civil Service, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and even organisations directly under the President such as the Presidential Amnesty Programme, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, have been publicly torch-lighted for massive corruption.

READ ALSO: Group faults Magu’s suspension, says it indicates corruption winning

The initial fear of Buhari’s “body language” and the notion of a “new sheriff in town” in 2015 suddenly vapourised, and has given way to a dam-break of malfeasance on a scale perhaps never witnessed before.

Just like Magu’s ongoing saga, the pioneer Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, SIPRPP, Okoi Obono-Obla, had since been removed over alleged financial impropriety and falsification of records.

When officials focus on stealing monies which are meant to service the infrastructural, security, defence and other needs of the people, the government is unable to deliver on its obligations.

Troops are losing the will to defend the country, and police and security agencies are extorting money from ordinary Nigerians on the highways because they are not getting the funds meant to keep them focused on their jobs.

Money has become a god that almost everyone worships. If we continue along this path, our security challenges will overwhelm us. In any case, we are already overwhelmed as several Northern governors have publicly declared themselves incapable of protecting their people.

We must re-examine the role that extreme nepotism has played in the unprecedented stoking of corruption in our country. We must kill corruption before we drown in it.