By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
Many writers, politicians and leaders of thought in Nigeria and outside have ideas about how Nigeria can get out of its present stupor or coma and become a great nation that it signaled in the 60’s after independence. The president, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari is pursuing one such thought, eradicating corruption. He has been at it for about five years now and there are no signs that he is winning. If anything there are signs that he is losing badly as every day we have accusations of people in high positions being pursued for high crimes and misdemeanor arising from theft of the public purse.
Transparency International defines corruption as follows:
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Transparency means shedding light on shady deals, weak enforcement of rules and other illicit practices that undermine good governments, ethical businesses and society at large. Corruption corrodes the fabric of society.
Mr. Buhari is fighting corruption because of the last sentence in the above definition. Corruption does indeed corrode the society’s fabric but what is important is finding out what causes corruption and to root it out.
Corruption in Nigeria is deep-rooted and can be found with police officers, among school teachers who sell copies of texts at high prices to students, within clerks in offices, etc. One cannot write about politicians without the use of “corrupt”. Nor about governors or presidents or ministers.
Corruption is pervasive in Nigeria.
Poverty is the main cause of Nigeria’s corruption and I often wonder if what exists in Nigeria is even corruption. Take the case of teachers, clerks, pastors and police officers as examples. They are NOT paid living wages when they are paid at all. As such they must look for “other income” to put food on the table, provide a shelter for their families among other obligations. It is this “other income” source that forces them to be corrupt.
And these people work.
How about the millions of graduates who do not work, young university graduates and trained carpenters, and other graduates from technical and trade schools? To survive they invariably turn to corrupt activities such as designing 419 schemes and petty thievery. “Man must whack”.
Fighting corruption while these abject conditions exist is why no headway is being made.
The first step is to recognize that neither the federal government, the state governments, nor the local governments can solve this poverty problem alone. The second step is to recognize that the mobilization of the entire 100 million or so Nigerians is the solution to the problem. The idea of mobilization is not to preach “don’t give or receive bribery” but directing the mobilized to start with finding what to eat, agriculture. If every worker has a small garden and every piece of land has some crop growing on it, there will be plenty to eat during harvest and some kind of work in between.
Nigeria’s failure began when cocoa farms, palm plantations, ground nut pyramids started going out of fashion and reliance shifted to mineral oil. But population was growing. With food production diminishing Nigeria had to resort to importing food. And money that could have been invested at home was spent abroad.
It did not help that the stolen money was also deposited in foreign banks, thus compounding the sorry situation.
This writer believes that if Nigeria can provide at least one good meal to every Nigerian every day, petty corruption can be cut by 50%. If we get to two meals a day what will be left would be grand corruption which could be fought then.
With a full stomach, Nigeria could shift to education, to infrastructure building and the other things that need to be done.
Instead of asking for the state of origin we should be asking how many plots of garden you have and demanding proof. Even zones like SE which are land challenged can still find plots of land for modest gardening or raising chicken.
Let’s try this for 4 years and see how far we can go.
Fighting poverty is the magic bullet for Nigeria’s many agonies.
~ Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts.
Amotekun, Miyetti Allah And That Channels Tv Outing
By Charles Ogbu
There are things I read or hear that leave me wondering whether to pause and die laughing or die crying. The yesterday’s Channels TV interview where Miyetti Allah tried to cause a wedge between Ndigbo and the Yoruba is one of such things.
That a man who, in the 21st century 2020, still goes about trekking with cows all over the bushes in the country, sleeps (as in have sexual intercourse) with those cows as we’ve seen on videos, butcher innocent men, women and children in their sleep just so these cows can graze on the ancestral land of the deceased, a man whose part of the country has the highest number of out of school children (12million), worst poverty rate, highest maternal mortality rate, highest illiteracy rate and the presence of two terrorist groups – Boko Haram and the killer herdsmen – once adjudged the deadliest and fourth deadliest terror group respectively by the Global Terror Index; plus a gang of rampaging bandits which has taken over most part of his own part of the country, a man whose terror group butchers women and children in their sleep and comes on TV to admit responsibility for the killings…….. That such a man will come on National TV to use the term “primitive” on a people who had seen civilization long before his own progenitor left his mother’s womb should get every reasonable person drunk with laughter. Mirthless laughter, I mean.
Let us even look at the politics of the Arewas. What is there to emulate from a people who specializes in using gory displays of violence and mindless festival of blood to acquire and wield political power?
And to prove that the tired, worn-out, out of use analogue divide and rule tactic is the only thing they are good at, he tries to divide Southern consensus in support of Amotekun by reminding Ndigbo that during the last general election, they were stopped from voting their conscience in parts of Lagos by the Yorubas. He would have been right except he was wrong. The Yorubas never stopped Ndigbo from voting in any part of Lagos. It was Bola Tinubu and his APC thugs who stopped Ndigbo from voting in some part of Lagos. Tinubu is an individual Yoruba politician whose action CANNOT be blamed on the Yorubas. So the Miyetti Allah man should look for another card to play. This one don fail yakata.
Again, he reminds Ndigbo that a certain Yoruba Oba threatened to drown them in the Lagoon. True, he was right. The Oba made the threat which of course, wasn’t carried out. Now let us assume that threat was made against Ndigbo by an assistant to an assistant to an Emir, would it have ended up an empty threat?????? Your guess is as good as mine.
We know the people who have value for human lives and we know those who are deaf, dumb and blind to the sanctity of human lives. We know the people who started spilling our blood for as far back as 1945 when Nigeria hasn’t even gained her independence and has continued up to this moment.
Now, let us even come down to the main topic; AMOTEKUN.
Below are some questions that not only require but demand answers:
Why is the Arewa North jittery that a section of the country has decided to set up an unarmed intelligence gathering regional security outfit? Why is the govt using Miyetti Allah as front to oppose Amotekun? Is this a confirmation that this group whose members are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Nigeria is the militia wing of the Buhari led govt? Why does Channel TV keep inviting Miyetti Allah – a fulani group – to come and discuss Amotekun – a Yoruba Regional Security?
I do not have answer to any of the above questions but I do know one thing for a fact; as long as the Muhammadu Buhari govt continues to engage in an unholy intercourse with the terrorist group who butcher innocent Nigerians just so their cows can feed, as long as it is okay to have armed civilian JTF and Hisbah police in the North, as long as the Nigerian security agencies controlled by the Fulanis continue to collude with the herdsmen who kill, maim and rape innocent Nigerians and take over their land for their cows, there will continue to be AMOTEKUN, not only in the West but in the entire non-Caliphate rest of the country.
A govt that refuses to protect her citizens from a well known terror group with an ethno-religious agenda has no right to stop them from protecting themselves.
Those who think AMOTEKUN is about the Yorubas need to think again. It is about all of us. It is about our inalienable right to live as free humans without being butchered in our sleep and our lands taken over by a bunch of terrorists operating with govt sponsored impunity.
~ Charles Ogbu is a socio-political Analyst and good governance advocate.
Who Is Afraid Of Amotekun?
By Azuka Onwuka
In the past 10 days, about 100 people were killed by Boko Haram, bandits and highway kidnappers in different parts of northern part of Nigeria. The Emir of Potiskum escaped being kidnapped by spending the night in the forest, but some of his aides were killed. However, these killings were not the key issue in the news last week. The key issue was the declaration of illegality given by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to the launch the South-West Security Network, code-named Operation Amotekun. Not only Malami opposed the launch of the security outfit. The Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore, a cattle breeders’ association, also opposed it.
Interestingly, most of the opponents of Operation Amotekun are northerners whose territory has been a source of serious security concern for many years now. There has never been any plan by the proponents of Operation Amotekun to move to the North in the exercise of their security duties. They will only operate within the states of the South-West. One then wonders why anybody from the North should be worried about it when there are enough things of worry to occupy the person. The issue of securing the South-West has sadly been made to look like a case of North vs South.
Given the level of insecurity in Nigeria and the number of casualties recorded every week, especially in the North where three dreaded groups operate, one would think that every Nigerian would gladly welcome any initiative that would help to check the activities of criminals in Nigeria. However, it is often said that with the exception of the gay issue, every national issue polarises Nigeria into North and South.
Our military are overstretched and war-weary. Our police are overstretched too and unable to cope with the diverse and complex nature of the security challenges facing Nigeria from different zones. And like former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said over the weekend, in his support for the launch of Operation Amotekun, local policing has become a necessity as a result of the “obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges.”
The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the added: “The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out…
“In the envisaged new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.”
The most ridiculous aspect of the opposition to the launch of Operation Amotekun was the threat that by its launch, the South-West may lose the opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023. This came from Alhassan Salleh, national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore. It is a way of telling the people of the South-West that if they want to be given the opportunity to produce the president in 2023, they have to leave their zone porous to make it easy for their people to be massacred. One wonders if a dead person can be president.
It is this sort of subtle blackmail that has made the South-West to virtually turn to the lamb since 2015, ignoring all the threats to their people. On July 19, 2016 I had written an article titled, “Something strange is happening in South-West”, to buttress this strange behaviour of playing the lamb led to the slaughter in a bid to be considered good by the North “to inherit the kingdom of Nigeria.” Some people even added a ridiculous dimension to the debate by telling me that I would not succeed in making them clash with the North.
One wonders how protecting one’s home should equate to fighting with the North. Can a zone be only said to be friends of the North if it does not complain or react when its people are killed? What type of friendship is that?
The biggest threat to security in Nigeria since 2015 has been the fear that protecting one’s people means fighting against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). Governors and other key politicians have been afraid to complain or take measures to protect their people against the killer herdsmen because of this fear. Few governors like Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti who tried to take action against the killer-herdsmen faced stiff opposition from Nigerian security agencies as if they were the aggressors. Rather than being supported to protect their people, they were threatened and harassed by the security agencies.
This confirms the views of many that the worsening security situation in Nigeria has the backing of government in one form or the other. In March 2018, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) had said: “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one…. I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.” If anybody should know about what is happening in Nigeria security-wise, it should be Danjuma, a former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff.
Thankfully, the support for Operation Amotekun has been swelling. Groups from the South-East, South-South, North-Central as well as individuals from many parts of Nigeria have given support to it. Interestingly, those with different political views from the mainstream APC in the South-West have been the strongest supporters. That points to the fact that life comes first before politics.
The words from the governors of the South-West have shown that they are not ready to be cowed or blackmailed into backing off the plan to secure the South-West. The level and depth of insecurity that the North-East and North-West have faced should not be wished on any zone. The regular kidnapping of people on the highways in the South-West is a warning that all is not well. The killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in July last year seemed to have jolted the governors out of their slumber.
For me, the South-West should take all possible measures to safeguard its zone for my selfish reasons. I live in the South-West. Because I love to drive between the South-West and South-East, I have to drive through Ogun and Ondo states. One cannot guarantee that one would not meet highway kidnappers on the way. I occasionally have projects that take me through the South-West. In recent times, I have been wary of undertaking such trips within South-West. If these highway kidnappers embarked on intelligence gathering on their targets, I would not be a target because I am not a high net-worth individual. But their modus operandi is weird.
The South-West governors should immediately individually send bills to their respective state House of Assembly to pass a law legalising the security network in each state.
The issue of bearing of arms by members of the Operation Amotekun is also a major one. Using batons to battle well-armed criminals is suicidal. People’s children and husbands should not be sent on such a suicide mission. Just as many different vigilance groups are allowed to bear arms, the operatives of Operation Amotekun should bear arms. Thankfully, the police had given support to the group. They should work closely with the police to make the South-West safe.
— You can Onwuka on Twitter @BrandAzuka
‘Regional Security Organisation In The South East Is A Child Of Necessity’
By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
I decided to make another round of case for a regional security organization in the South East of Nigeria in other to remind the political leaders of the region that evil is already in their midst. This will be the last time I will ever attempt to drum up support for this issue. One thing I have come to understand about the leaders of this region is that they are too lukewarm and cowardly disposed when it comes to confronting matters that is strangulating to death the interest of their people. There is this Igbo maxim that say: only an irresponsible person will run after a black goat in the night. For one not to be cut up in the middle of nowhere there is need to arrest a pressing situation before it blows out of proportion and consume everyone.
The Nigeria of today is full of unimaginable surprises. When a section of the country now possesses the prerogative power to determine who forms any group or who becomes the President then one begins to wonder if there is any difference between a banana republic and Nigeria. In a country where terrorists are treated with kids glove while peaceful agitators are massacred with AK47 and even in most cases bathed with chemical weapon, there is every need to bale the water while it’s still an ankle deep. The aim of my message is neither to open old wounds nor to inflict fresh ones. It is a divine mandate, designed to wake every lucid mind in the South East region with the bitter and incontrovertible truth.
Time and events have proven that truly Nigeria belongs to an uneducated tribe, while the other educated tribes in the country are slaves and must bow to the command of uneducated arrogant demagogues. Sometime ago a vituperative leader in this country once said that Nigeria is the estate of their father and they must ruthlessly do everything humanly possible to make sure it doesn’t slip away from their hand. Fifty nine years after independence, the story has been the same. There is no record of unity, peace and progress. The nation has been enmeshed in all manner of ethnic jingoism, killings, tribal warfare, economic terrorism and political parochialism. Nigeria has been nothing but a skeletal shadow.
In natural law, I was made to understand that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. From time immemorial, this law applies in all human interactions and has become one of the yardstick for measuring fairness and equity in all social stratum. Unfortunately the revise is the case with Nigeria. While a section of the country is qualified to own all the oil wells, control the Presidency and the coercive apparatus of the state, the rest exist to applaud and lick their filthy anus. This reocuring ugly incident of a section of the country attempting to lord and intimidate the rest is becoming so visible and embarrassing. It is really a mockery on collective intelligence that an infinitesimal group in a nation will be bold to tell others when to eat and when not to eat.
The horrible security situation in Nigeria calls for a thorough regional introspection. There is no day that passes without one hearing stories of how terror movements and other bandits killed and displaced hundreds and thousands of people from their communities, and these are happening in a country where there are functional security agencies who are paid with the tax payers money to maintain absolute security. There are recorded cases of Fulani bandits kidnapping and raping aged women in their farmlands. The one that happened in Ebonyi State which was widely reported by media houses is a clear testament. The same carnage is on-going in Enugu, Imo, Anambra and Abia states. No arrest has been made and the governing powers have not held anyone accountable for all these heinous crimes. These killers and terrorists appears to be above the law because there seems to be some level of conspiracy from the top to shield them from prosecution
Moreover, the lopsided structure of Nigeria and its security architecture is a larger signature to the fact that nobody is safe in the country. The Fulani tribe is in charge of the police, army, DSS, civil defense, customs, Navy and Immigration. It’s all about the government of the Fulani, by Fulani and for the Fulani. Other extractions of the country have been displaced from the national security formation.
When it comes to security and beyond, the South East region has been jettisoned. The only thing that works in the region is the mounting of road blocks from one pole to another by haggard and poorly trained security agents. Coordination of various military operations (like operation Python dance), extortion, killing and illegal arrest of motorists who refuses to part with their hard earned money on the numerous checkpoints littered all over the region is categorically seen as an act of gallantry.
However, there can’t be and will never be one Nigeria when some selfish and backward folks have chosen to arrogate power to themselves. There can’t be one Nigeria when there is no sea port and international airports in the South East. It is sheer deceit and folly for anyone to say there is one Nigeria when the Hisbah police and Civilian JTF in the North are legal while in other regions of the country such organizations are deemed illegal.
Nigerians don’t need to be told that one of the major reasons that have compelled the various regions of the country to establish indigenous security organizations is because the centre cannot longer hold. The security architecture in the country has been crippled by dead woods and ethnic chauvinism; hence the regions are now left to source for concrete alternatives for self preservation. The police and the army as presently constituted have stupendously failed to secure the people.
It will be bad and very regrettable that the South East leaders will fold their hands and watch while other regions of the country assiduously work to protect lives and property of their people in the face of this terror that is escalating in the country. It is necessary to constitute a viable regional security organization. It is a child of necessity. There is Hisbah police and JTF in the North, while there is Amotekun in the West. Thus, South East region shouldn’t be left behind in this self preservation mechanism. Political leaders from the South East must synchronize and push for the formation of an indigenous security outfit. Anything short of the above suggestion will continue to put the region in the radar of killers who maim and kill with impunity. My suggestion is not an attempt to be divisive and sadistic, but the reality on ground is what I’m laying bare for every reasonable mind to embrace.
In conclusion, I will quote professor Farooq Kperogi’s commentary of 18th January, “It’s irrelevant if Amotekun is constitutional or unconstitutional. You need to be alive to read the constitution. Only the living debate legality and constitutionality. The seemingly never-ending widening and deepening of the theaters of bloodshed in the country, occasioned by the unrestrained sanguinary fury of homicidal marauders, in the face of the inability or unwillingness of federal security forces to protect lives has made Amotekun an issue on which most people in the Southwest won’t compromise”.
I will advise all stakeholders from the South East to take a leaf from professor Farooq Kperogi’s commentary. Decisive measures should be taken to ensure the safety of the region. There is no room to start arguing the legality and illegality of setting up such security organization. Self preservation is a basic instinct in human beings and animals. A Stitch in time saves nine.
- Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance journalist. You can reach him via email@example.com