Posts Tagged ‘insecurity’

FBI arrest of Nigerian scammers—is it a disgrace?

Sourced from https://www.voanews.com/usa/how-dozens-nigerian-scammers-stole-millions-people-businesses

Many Nigerians are still seething from the seeming disgrace of the recent FBI arrest of 80 Nigerian internet scammers. Nigerians are hanging their heads in shame of this seeming “betrayal” of “our good name.” Amazing! Is it not? Moreover, this “shameful” situation bred an array of image fixers: multiple propaganda videos—presumably cooked up by the Nigerian officials—surfaced on the internet touting the great achievement of Nigerians and asking Nigerians to share the videos and to be proud of their heritage. Indeed!

There is no doubt that Nigerians are great people, great achievers, and given the chance or even half a chance are capable of great feats. Nigerians, spread out across the world, in situations where they indisputably are the underdogs as foreigners, have achieved great honor and leadership positions which is a credit to their hard work and dedication to duty, in countries where the opportunity to thrive is available to them. Within Nigeria, there are people who if given the opportunity will be great innovators. Nigerians are achievers!

The Nigerians arrested by the FBI for their infamous acts are only a symptom of a disease: They point to a diagnosis. As long as the disease is undiagnosed, the appropriate treatment will not be rendered. Treating the symptom and not the disease is a sure way to succumb to a disease.

The sudden race by the Nigerian government to produce a positive image among Nigerians in the face of this “bad news” is somewhat surprising. Better still, it is laughable. Can they not see the great shame brought on Nigeria by the ravaging corruption among Nigerian government officials? How do Nigerian leaders think they are perceived when they go to foreign hospitals for their healthcare? Does the British prime minister go to Germany for his healthcare, or the French president to the U.S? The underlying reason why Nigerian leaders continue to go outside the country for treatment is the underlying reason for the negative image of Nigeria: corrupt leaders.

Every day one hears Nigerian leaders talking of conquering one prevailing vice or the other in the country, be it hunger, poverty or insecurity, and yet they turn a blind eye to corruption or pay its extermination lip service. However, no sustainable progress can be made in Nigeria until corruption is arrested. All the programs in a country need money to achieve and to sustain. When funds continually disappear from the state coffers, these worthwhile aspirations can never be achieved.

So is it shameful for these Nigerians to be scammers and be arrested by the FBI? You bet! But, far greater is the shame from the perpetual stealing by Nigerian leaders that leaves Nigeria open to scorn and keeps her citizens living in abject poverty and deplorable conditions. In 2016, the erstwhile British Prime Minister called Nigeria “fantastically corrupt.” There is an Igbo adage that says that you do not want to resemble the insult you are given, but that is where Nigerian finds itself today. Because of the shameful corruption among the Nigerian leadership, the incessant looting of the country, Nigeria is indeed looking like the insult she has been given. Is it not shameful when such a richly endowed country has not a single hospital capable of treating its president? Is it not shameful when Nigerian leaders, leaving their country underdeveloped, go all over the developed countries buying mansions without considering that the leaders of those countries do not come to Nigeria to buy mansions? Is it not shameful when according to the U.N, Nigeria—the richest country in Africa by GDP—accounts for 19% of the world’s maternal deaths, and TIME magazine Feb. 18/ Feb.25, 2019 issue captions Nigeria “the world’s worst country to give birth?” 

Please share:

Happy 59th Birthday Nigeria!

Happy 59th birthday Nigeria! Today Nigeria marks 59 years of independence from her colonial master, and freedom from colonization is without doubt worthy of celebration. As we celebrate this Independence Day, it is again a good time to reflect on our areas of achievement and failure. 

For a country consisting of no less than 250 ethnic groups, who did not come together of their own free will, to remain together for 59 years is a laudable feat. Nigerians I salute you! From the north to the south and from the east to the west; the Hausa-Fulani, the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Ijaw, the Kanuri, the Annang, the Tiv, the Ibibio, the Etsako, the Efik  and on and on and on: Congratulations! It may not have been all fun and games but Nigeria has remained as one, seeking a future together, showing a great resilience and defying the reckless attitude of the colonial masters who contrived a union so heterogeneous as to have little hope of survival. But here we are, 59 years and counting: Hooray Nigerians!

Then again, lest we forget, the state of our beloved country calls for deep reflection. If after 59 years of independence and with diverse resources such as should have brought us to a good place, we still find ourselves the world capital of unfavorable statistics: world poverty capital, the sole contributor of almost a fifth of the world’s maternal mortality—we need a good dose of soul searching. A look around Nigeria today is depressing; it is almost as if the river is flowing backwards: eighty percent of Nigerians live on less than two dollars a day, insecurity is worse than it has ever been, roads are death traps, hospitals are poorly funded, poorly functional and patients have to buy their own supplies for treatment while the country’s leaders award themselves the benefit of treatment “abroad.”

Is this not therefore a good time for soul searching? Surely, much as we do not need to be “exactly like anyone else” we need to hold up a standard that is highly estimable. Perhaps, we should take a peek at countries with whom we started out around the same time in this journey of independence and democracy. Take note that Nigeria’s crude oil was discovered in 1956 and she gained independence from Great Britain in 1960. Now, let’s consider a couple of countries with similar backgrounds.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) gained independence from Great Britain in 1971; oil was discovered in it in the early 1960s. The UAE has so managed its oil wealth and diversified its revenue sources as to make it a wonder to the world. They have shunned corruption and turned a desert into a thriving tourist attraction, wiping out poverty for their people.

Again, consider Singapore. It gained independence from Great Britain in 1963 and was expelled from Malaysia in 1965. Singapore also had crude oil but developed the country in order to attract foreign investors. Today Singapore, a highly developed free-market economy, has lifted its people from abject poverty and created a thriving middle class. How has it been able to do this? Singapore is the 7th least corrupt country in the world! 

Sadly, it would seem, our country has not lived up to standard, not even close. Neither the leadership of the country nor the citizenry has come to maturity in terms of what makes for a viable economy. The leaders lack patriotism and the aspiration to better the lot of their citizens, and the citizens lack the impetus to demand leadership. Rather than laudable achievements, the leaders of Nigeria are recognized all over the world for corruption. Self-aggrandizement has become the sole purpose for politicians seeking public office and the masses have become acclimatized to this with incredible lassitude: corruption and lack of accountability have become the norm, and lack of development the outcome. 

And so, at a time when Nigeria should be setting the pace for Africa, lifting her people out of poverty, decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor, she finds herself shackled by corruption, a task master more vicious that any colonial master.

Fellow Nigerian, is it not time to demand answers from our leaders?

Please share: