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Monday, March 4, 2024

Corruption Unmasked in NAGGW, NIRSAL, NLTF Etc – By Sanusi Muhammad

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They were erroneously trusted with public responsibility to serve Nigerians without fear or favor. Unknowingly to the authority, they were not the deserving type for trust. They abused the trust within a twinkle of an eye, ridiculed themselves and attempted muzzling lives out of the agencies they were mandated to preside over.

Dr Yusufu Maina Bukar of National Agency for Greater Green Wall (NAGGW), AbdulHameed Aliyu of NIRSAL, Bello Maigari of National Lottery Trust Fund (NALTF) and few others in Efcc net, are Nigerians that should never be trusted with public office.

The other identified criminals are already caged in correctional centre serving various jail sentences for crimes committed against the comfort of Nigerians.

If wishes were horses, Ahmed Idris (sacked Accountant-General of the Federation), Yusuf, AbdulHameed and Bello Maigari should by now be cooling in Efcc custody while addressing the suspected financial crimes they individually committed against Nigerians.

All processes of contracts awarded by the suspected criminals should be thoroughly investigated to unearth other cases of stealing including procurements etc.

Judging Nigeria’s checkered history, one reasons that by now majority of the people would have become weary of corruption. Instead, corruption remains the most pervasively overused and a highly misunderstood word in our national lexicon. Everyone talks of corruption but most Nigerians are ambivalent about corruption, that is, most prefer to talk more about its evil than possessing enough will to fight and end it.

As annoying as corrupt acts are, when push turns into shove, majority of Nigerians have lackadaisical attitude towards the monster, and are steady beneficiaries of the crime.

In daily conversations at social grassroots, it’s not uncommon to hear parents express their desire on how their children need success both in schools and in work places and how they should bring the success home to uplift the entire household and extended family members, but these same parents, show little regard on how their children achieve success. In most cases, it is said: “The guy got a very juicy appointment or a lucrative place where he rakes money”.

In actual sense, it really doesn’t matter much that most of parents never laid the proper foundation or forged better path for their children’s legitimate success. Showing off great wealth patronages and the collection or accumulation of material things are the typical benchmark for success in most Nigerian family units. Not that anything is wrong with such capitalist tendencies however, a culture which shows more disregard for ethical values is the sole reason Nigeria grapples with corruption and insecurity.

Corruption remains a formidable opponent largely responsible for the overwhelming abject poverty, insecurity and the general underdevelopment of the country; and is currently said to be under a serious fight by government band aid measures masquerading via anti-corruption institutions with little success to show for millions expended to combat the scourge.

Let us critically examine how a public servant claimed to have planted 21million trees in 11 states of the federation at the whooping cost of N81.2billion. Where were those trees procured from? Were the trees made of gold, silver or diamond? Where are the locations of the planted trees? How are they nurtured? That claimant deserves total disconnection from the larger society for the needed safety of Nigerians. He should be caged far away from others to avoid the spread of his character that is more dangerous to humanity than HIV/AIDS.

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Perhaps, it’s not conjecture on my part to say that these anti-corruption institutions are usually inundated by formidable group of opportunists. The culprits are especially the scrupulous elites with wherewithal, often known within Nigeria as sacred cows, and are easily beyond reproach.

Analogously, they can be described to ordinary Nigerians as evil and devilish citizens wearing veils of obscurity, mediocrity, and impunity; and they wield their enormous power, shrouded in secrecy, eager to bribe the less privileged but corruptible folks with government powers to tacitly sanction corruption.

The political class in, elective position cleverly bribe the people with inconsequential palliatives, such as tokunbo cars, sewing and grinding machines, motor cycles, bags of expired food stuffs and smelly cooking oils in return for loyalty and pass mark while the people remain in such deceitful position hoping against hope for better days ahead.

It is a very nasty situation to see responsible people fooled and cajoled by semi and educated-illiterates mistakenly elected or offered a responsible leadership position with majority of them, in ideal situation not better than motor park touts, Yan Kalare, Egbesu boys or agberos.

My study shows that corruption is the main reason why we have brain drain in Nigeria with several qualified professionals relocating to overseas countries practicing their professions with pride and comfort.

It forms the reason why several churned out first class graduates are today roaming the streets in search of non-existing jobs with the few available ones smuggled by politicians for sale or offer to their favorite stooges. With such a situation, one should not blame those that join nefarious groups of kidnappers, hired killers, insurgents, militants, internet fraudsters and armed robbers to survive the odds artificially created by the thieving politicians and the rogue elites.

Corruption is responsible for epileptic electricity supply killing investments with the country having the highest infant mortality rates in the world, and so on and so forth. Getting something for nothing, especially when that something is not freely and willfully given, is corruption, no matter how one looks at it, that is just the deliberate attempt to divert resources meant for many to exclusive use of one or a selected few, favored and privileged.

Forget whatever you are told about the ongoing campaign against corruption, it’s really going to be tough to bring corruption to a minimum as trumpeted because in Nigeria of today, the lure of quick bonanza and the chance to showcase a smugger collection of material things people consider means worthy of society’s accolades. With this type of attitude, and as long as both state sponsored corruption and other corrupt acts are often condoned, subverted and subjected to frequent executive overrides, it will continue to be difficult to enact and enforce laws to reduce the evils of corruption.

Corruption, not Boko Haram, not kidnappers, not armed robbers and bandits, has made Nigeria a failed state. Oh, what an asylum to reside in! News flash, but inmates in power are actually running the asylum as they wish.

As part of this sick mentality, most Nigerians are reticent on their responsibility to fight corruption, and instead, will shift that responsibility to God by constantly invoking God’s wrath against all corrupt individuals. Corruption is an 800 pound gorilla no one really wants to battle head-on, but Nigerians never mind tickling its rear-end.

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With the numerous religions in Nigeria and a ray of fake and self-ordained prophets, God is constantly made the butt-end joke on corruption. I guess because of the way some folks act after each petition to God to end evil. It’s not unusual that the people who, in numerous prayer sessions, invokes the name of God the loudest is the same person who cannot wait to easily abrogate and shift personal responsibility for his failures, including his duty to fight corruption that is a threat to his ultimate survival.

Someone steals from the public till, goes and makes large donations to the Mosque, Church or religious sect or group, and receives abundance of praises from those in-charge with no questions asked as how he made his money for the donation. He gives large contributions to distressed families and friends or support important causes with ill-gotten wealth, yet no one questions the means of the wealth; instead he gets national honor award with his social status elevated, especially if he, in addition, along the way invokes God’s name some more. Mind you, this individual can be saved as long as each time after an evil deed he accepts to repent. Isn’t it a fair proclamation that Nigeria is getting exactly what it deserves?

Our attitude toward, or the actual understanding of God, doesn’t make much logical sense. We can certainly make the God experience much less confusing.

The good news is integrity and is not a leper. It’s an aspired attainment to always strive for outward transparency in one’s thoughts, words and actions. It stands to reason that corruption has its roots, first, in family units, villages, tribes, schools etc, before it ends up in government, and should be controlled from that order. Some will argue otherwise, but let me remind my critics that your elected leaders were once other wretched people’s children and still are. Before they became leaders by accident or through divine intervention, they were supposed to have been educated with good morals first by their parents if the parents were educated enough or other family members etc.

Why is it so difficult for most Nigerians to accept personal responsibility on how things are turning out in our country? Shouldn’t personal responsibility be to self-remind-self, first, to always tell yourself the bitter truth; second, to accept your self-evident truth; and third, to always find appropriate ways not to tell yourself more lies?

The newly appointed sheriff at Efcc should act fast by inviting the newly surfaced corruption lords in the persons of Dr Yusufu Maina Bukar and Bello Maigari to shade more light on how N82.1billion was expended on 21million trees and how N2.5billion internally generated revenue was massively butchered by Maigari. There are several others mismanaging public funds waiting for their time to answer their misdeeds.

Finally, what stops Nigeria from subscribing to the China brand of treatment for crooks in public offices?

Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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