At number 32 on the index of corruption, Nigeria is still a ‘fantastically corrupt nation’ (courtesy of British Prime Minister David Cameron). And with all the mind boggling revelations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, only those who are dishonest will disagree that indeed the depth of corruption in Nigeria cannot be excused. Those who claim over $600 billion had been stolen since 1960 are perhaps wrong. The amount looted by those in power and its corridors will be far over the trillion dollar mark.
And Nigerians are the worst enemies of Nigeria, cooperating, conspiring and encouraging thieves and rogues over the years. We turn a blind eye, and partake in the looting machine (apologies to Tom Burgis whose riveting book with the same title is as shocking as it is shameful to proud Africans).
Nigerians don’t really care about how our resources are squandered and stolen. A list of the co-conspirators will alarm you…
- Government officials, civil servants
Those work work as public servants in government offices in the three tiers and agencies are usually the ones who teach politicians and soldiers how to steal. They know how to pad budgets, inflate figures, award fictitious contracts, encourage non execution of contracts and approve sub standard projects. They know how to get money out of government coffers, launder it and ferry it to safe havens. They are behind ghost workers…
- Family and friends
Money, especially ill-gotten wealth, can be seen by spouses and children, family and friends of looters. But they pretend that the enormous resources is through luck and chance and destiny. And they partake in spending and hiding the loot. They thank their stars that their brother or sister has found favour. They don’t ask questions because they know the answer. They really don’t care about Nigeria. Like the legendary iconoclast classical African music king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang, ‘only dem pockets wey dem know’.
- Bankers, including officials of Central Bank of Nigeria
Our bankers, especially managing directors, executive directors, are working hand in hand with looters. They know and encourage deposits of humongous amounts stolen from Nigeria, teach the thieves how to hide them, and even help in stashing billions abroad. No big money can escape the eagle eye of bank bosses. And the CBN is aware of these huge amounts, and turn its back.
4. Car, construction and real estate companies’ owners
They are usually the second recipients and co-conspirators. They sell luxury automobiles, build and sellsenseless mansions and complexes to those with no genuine and visible means of livelihood. They encourage and fan the purchase of beautiful wonders on wheels in a country impoverished by looters. They help them buy properties far above their value, drive prices up mindlessly.
- Law enforcers
The police and all the agents of law enforcement are not our friends when it comes to looting. They protect looters, encourage them to bend the law and get away with our commonwealth. They even teach them how to escape justice. They hardly perfect their prosecution skills, leave many lopholes in their investigations and proofs of evidence. They really don’t care about punishing looters.
- Judges and lawyers
They provide soft landing and escape routes for thieves of our commonwealth. They hide under legal jargons to provide ridiculous prosecution of looters. They collect bribe, take briefs of thieves and frustrate prosecution with endless injunctions and writs. They hand out bails to those who cause immeasurable suffering and death of millions.
=Agbolade Owolabi for encomium.ng