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Whistle-blowers among weasels

 
 
Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Punch Newspaper
 
Stories told from and about Nigeria are often disheartening and dispiriting. The grotesqueness of many of these tales is capable of sparking off a pirouette in the human head; and a dazzle and rattle in fleshly hearts. Before one is done processing one bad batch of news, another beleaguering bail emanates sending you into syncope. If you are not fortified, in an eye blink, your health status dives into a deterioration. Good stories quickly turn bad; and bad ones flip into irredeemably worse states. If it took the children of Israel 40 years of road-trek to their Promised Land, I wonder how long it will take Nigeria either by road, sea, or air to achieve her destiny; and reach her destination. We are watching the clock tick.

The tormenting trigger of Nigeria’s many challenges is corruption. Some Nigerian politicians’ adoration of money is beyond human understanding. We have men and women in leadership who worship gold as if it were a god that requires oblation. In power, these fellas quickly become brutal bandits and warlords of waste. A scanty few among them who desire greatness for the nation are fought by the despicable lots who specialise in dubiety. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index ranks Nigeria 136 out of 176 countries. For the second year in a row, and according to data from the 2017 Best Countries Rankings, the most populous country in Africa is perceived to be the most corrupt among 80 countries evaluated.

An ill but determined President Muhammadu Buhari still wants to kill corruption. A part of the paraphernalia of the munitions is the whistle-blower policy. Last December, the team went to work. This strategy has yielded some yukky revelations. If you blow the whistle that yields result, you will walk home with an incentive of between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of recovered ill-gotten wealth. As whistles continue to blow, weasels in our midst continue to grin and groan. Whistle-blowers are eyes that have seen a lot; ears that have heard so much; feet that can take security agencies to locations of stolen cash; but famished hands that may have never held what big thieves are holding in cash, kind, and wealth. Whistle-blowers are revealers of secrets; and are men and women trusted by duplicitous characters in high places.

Long before the policy, it was a whistle-blower who screamed against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, in a N277m possible grass-cutting shady deals in Borno State. Oh, what a laudable move it was suspending Babachir!  But Babachir may just be one frail finger in an octopus of capitulating cabal around this President. There may be more to suspend. Can we say Bye-bye, Babachir? Not so fast! True, democracy comes with justice and fairness. The system must be fair to the SGF; and to Nigerians whose money may be missing.

It was a whistle-blower who blew the cover on stashed away cash in a Lagos house. A sum of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 uncovered in cabinets, broken walls, and bunkers. Who owns the money? It depends on who you ask and what you believe. A Peoples Democratic Party juggernaut, Adamu Mu’azu, owns the house. Does that confirm his ownership of the stash? No! He doesn’t live there. But where I live, if an evidence of foul play is found on your property, you go downtown answering some questions. That won’t happen in Nigeria. Not to big people either.  The PDP adherents bounced it back to Rotimi Amaechi, Buhari’s transportation minister. Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State insists the money belongs to Rivers State. Is that true? Wike will respond with a resounding YES! “It is Rivers money, bring it back to us to complete projects”. Amaechi has denied this. One retired big boss in the NNPC was widely rumoured to be the indisputable owner of the funds. The woman may have made lots of money working her job as the MD of an NNPC parastatal,  that money sounded too heavy for a woman her status. She once threatened: “Terrify me further, I will blow the whistle and Nigeria will burn”.  What does she know? Shouldn’t Nigerians know what she knows?  Well, whoever is terrifying the poor woman should please terrify her some more. Let the whistle go off from her mouth dripping with oil.

Nigeria’s snooping group, the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, once claimed ownership of the seized stash. Must a government agency keep such an outrageous amount of cash in an abandoned house? Maybe that’s how intelligence work works. But in a quick turn, unintelligent and unintelligible NIA later said “No; the money does not belong to us”.  I thought I had seen and heard the worst of all mockeries and money-madness moves in the last administration; this one is an equal-calibre line of mockeries. Who is accountable to who in this dispensation? This is just like the days of the Bible when people behaved as they pleased.

Truth is in the emergency room; and some desperados are pulling the plugs on it.Truth in this case may never be uncovered; but sacrificial lambs and scapegoats will be many. A big wig in the NIA has just been railroaded. Does that convince Nigerians who owns the cash? Fighting corruption is a good idea. But what happens when a good idea like fighting corruption is co-fought with men who have no pedigree and readiness to fight? The rich and powerful are bountiful beneficiaries and frenetic facilitators of corruption. Defeating corruption is defeating the rich and powerful. Defeating the rich is a great feat that requires more than the armor of King Saul to achieve.

Nigeria is an island of wealth, home of innumerable sages; arsenal of intellectuals, harbour of highbrows, and a human gathering of geeks and deft double-domes. Regrettably, the country is also a bunker of banditry and a cornfield of corruption. Touts who are touted as leaders; and brutal beings bereft of progressive ideas have continually roamed around the vicinage of power at all levels cashing in on weak and poor Nigerians. They have cheaply reaped where they have not sown. Nigeria is like a child designed and destined to walk at age one, but still crawling at 57! Just like God told Elijah in the Bible, the journey ahead of her is very far.

So, let the whistle keep blowing. And let the weasel keep groaning. In this brutal brawl with weasels, Mr. President should let the chips fall where they may; even if they fall close to home. Must this country continue in this shambolic path asphalted in charade and shenanigan? Must lies and deceptions continue to have a free course among these great people? China once constructed the world’s largest 22,000 MW hydro-electric plant for $25bn; and power supply is on an even keel.  Nigeria once spent $40bn for 2,500 MW; and power supply is comatose.  The funds were rerouted into pockets of fat cats. Let the whistle keep blowing; and let weasels keep groaning. One day, and maybe not too long from now, something will give. And please tell that to the rich and powerful weasels and their minions who hate the whistle-blower; and who despise the truth.
 
 
 
 
 
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