Friday, 7 March 2014
A Nation Governed By Impunity
Let’s talk about a land where many actions are not necessarily as a result of seasoned arguments, superior debates, the rule of law, and deliberate use of common sense for outcomes right for the wellbeing of the masses who may be unsophisticated, not privileged and well-connected with those in power to discern their collective welfare, but by mass reckless and pervasive impunity.
In this land, the average citizen has impunity and is not afraid to wield it indiscriminately. This land is full of sacred cows!
The organized government though, constituted to appear to the public as normally in-charge is overtly a huge joke. Successive governments of Nigeria have allowed impunity to reign unchecked because impunity is the most effective means used to siphon public funds for personal benefit, and subvert the rule of law. How else can a country blessed with diversity, abundant natural resources, a teaming population, brave and resourceful citizenry remain engaged in a national culture spun by cardinal evils of impunity, corruption, lawlessness and lack of accountability?
The buck stops with the federal government of Nigeria. With the advent of the Internet and its aid to easy dissemination of information, there now exist a growing army of intelligent Nigerians both within and outside the country who have begun to ask the right questions; demand right actions and accountability; and whose views are mostly channeled to seeing the country emerge out of the dumpster into a progressive and respectable country that it deserves to become. Most of us saw early January of this year, from a YouTube video of OccupyNigeria, when intrepid protesters in New York embarrassed Nigeria’s foreign Minister with shutdown of her Town Hall meeting.
In this same land of impunity, “as usual,” most citizens live in abject poverty with income less than $1 per day, comes the news out of Abuja last week that 109 national senators are soon tobegin receiving their over $100,000 luxury sport utility vehicle, Toyota Land Cruiser with bells and whistles, fully paid for by the government of Nigerian at a time when the average fuel price is about to go up for most hard pressed and poor citizens. If this story is confirmed true, then yes, you guessed right, the culture of impunity allows the government to spend lavishly for those in government while ordinary citizens are trampled upon as doormats. Perhaps, these same senators will now drive their new luxury SUVs over a ratcheted network of roads that they have had no committed philosophy in fixing or have new ones constructed. I suspect that probably the government also will pay for the upkeep of each SUV with monthly car allowance to senators.
Here, my fellow citizens, is the main reason why more and more of these brainless politicians want to go into politics because when they get there, they will not have to spend their outrageous monthly salary on living expenses since they will receive “everything” for free while ordinary citizens continue to suffer and suffer.
Only in a country like Nigeria will a small bandit gorilla sect like Boko Haram hold the entire nation hostage, with impunity,for absurd demands. The entire country knows that these miscreants are sponsored by a few coward citizens, with impunity, for their selfish political ambition and yet, the government is incapable of ridding the country of their collective nuisance. Where else can a commissioner of Police,with impunity, blatantly allow a murderous Kabiru Sokoto of famed Boko Haram escape from custody without prosecution for his crimes? He has since been re-arrested to face charges, I suppose!
By the absolute power of holy impunity, Nigerian style, now, the central Bank of Nigeria is engaged in disaster relief. Will someone explain to Nigerians why on earth the Kano victims of Boko Haram should receive N100 million disaster gifts before all other prior victims of Boko Haram mayhem, including the Christmas day church bomb victims? Why the double standard? Where does the legislative branch of government stand on this issue?
In this land governed by impunity there exist numerous examples of wanton disregard for the rule of law to be cited in a limited space such as this. This same impunity reared its ugly head once more when last week in Onitsha Corporal Samuel Ajana of the Nigerian Police shot and killed, execution style, an unarmed commuter bus driver, Edwin Eze over N50 bribe after the driver failed to give bribe and stop at one of police numerous bribe-collecting-check-points. This policeman’s senseless action nearly set off a tribal war between the Igbos and the Hausas when the Igbos in Onitsha thought the policeman was of Hausa descent and wenton witch-hunts of any and all Hausas living in the area. The Hausas in the area on hearing what had happened went across the Onitsha Bridge into neighboring Asaba and some went to Police stations for safety.
Let me conclude this with one of my favorite experiences of our nation’s impunity during one of my previous visits to this hallowed land of ours. After my visit and when it was time for me to depart the country through Muritala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, I put my baggage through Custom inspection. AsCustom officers rummaged through my baggage, they saw that I was leaving the country with some Nigerian food stuffs,crawfish, dried fish, stockfish, egwusi, dried bitter leaf, etc.,which I purchased with my foreign earned income, a positive for Nigerian economy. They said to me, after sensing my reluctance to bribe them, “go to the sixth floor of the Airport and get a clearance letter from our boss in order to leave the country with the food stuffs.”
Keep in mind, these things are not prohibited from leaving the country except that these government officials always are determined to flash their impunity badge with ease to collect bribe by any method necessary or the poor citizen’s time is unnecessarily wasted. In order to catch my flight on time, I gave these shameless individuals, also paid by taxpayers, $5, which was the only money left in my wallet before they let me go with my food stuffs.
So, when you hear the president of Nigeria or any to government official state to foreign observers that Nigeria is serious about the rule of law, do like I do, CRINGE, and shout-out at the top of your voice, “what about SACRED COWS?”