– The Sun News

Blow your whistle for cash

This government is smart. Too smart indeed. There is recession and many starve almost to death. The best way to know and assess the depth and height of hunger here is the highly increased number of calls you get for assistance from those that imagine your economy is better.

But all of a sudden, the federal government has started implementing the 15m new jobs it promised. In fact, the first batch and possibly the most lucrative, most ready and most efficacious has taken off immediately and I bet you it doesn’t take much to invest in it. Just buy yourself a whistle with as little as maybe N200, walk round the city and just put it to your mouth, push some air into it and it blows.

Good enough the quantity of food you need in your tummy to blow it or walk around to spot a favourable place to commence the blow is not much either. It’s as simple as that.

Meanwhile, from the way money is arrested everyday courtesy, the 5% cash reward promise by Minister Lai Mohammed for those their whistle can blow out a minimum of N1b, very soon, every mansion and home in Nigeria would turn out cash warehouse. And soon, too everywhere you go, the piercing sound of blaring whistles and the cash they blow out would drown the country in a deluge of stolen money or sorry, arrested, discovered and forfeited cash.

If it’s a theatre, it has been well rehearsed and acted. From the days Senate declined Ibrahim Magu confirmation, the blares of the whistle have got as loud as they are rampant.

On the last of his appearance at the Senate, a stray N49m was arrested wandering about unaccompanied at the Kaduna Airport. I think it was taken into safe custody and nobody has told us again if any relation or family member of the lost and found money has come forward for it. If none has come for it, then in which safety home has it been living? We don’t know yet.

That was sometime after Andrew Yakubu house of cash was blown open in Kaduna.

Last week, Lagos took her turn as the hub of the nation’s economy when an abandoned Bureau De Change was pregnant with cash. Later it was a shop inside the Balogun Market. Again, this week, Lagos is at it. But the N15b has been subject of big dispute. It has been rumoured to belong to an Abuja former PDP national chief and another source says it is the property of a certain NNPC big boss. Maybe the money this time has multiple parents or the whistleblowers might have done double blow and would not tell whose blow got what harvest, reason they find it hard to trace who lives in or owns the home they were found. I just quietly wish that the whistle owners that blow their trump loud won’t get into warfare on who blew what and who gets what reward.

In my little knowledge of what is the latest trend in town, may I wish and pray that the gamble on who remains in the EFCC headship with or without Senate confirmation is not part of this widespread money arrests.

The police in this country have a stock of all manner of charms, arms and ammunition, axes and cutlasses. From time to time, some loitering innocent persons are gathered and paraded as owners of the guns who were dutifully caught by police. At a point a particular yellow vest became the uniform for all Boko Haram suspect arrested by the DSS.

I have known Nigerians for desperately getting what they want or at worst pull down the roof in the bid to. The money arrests have become very common song that we need to sing quietly and cautiously. I don’t want to ask when they would be declared as national income or revenue because I know nobody would answer such question, but after listening to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo declare that Magu doesn’t need Senate confirmation to be in office, I might have started guessing why the money arrests are so rampant these days. Are they the image laundering ploys to justify Magu’s stay? In Nigeria, whenever one is appointed to an office, they make the world believe that that he/she has no spare or alternative. They refuse to ask themselves that since you are a perfect entity nobody knew your impeccable qualities until you were appointed, therefore they might still be others as perfect. So, Magu must stay because as a dictator in South America declared in the 1980s, “no leaf shakes on a tree without his consent.”

The new song is that Magu is almighty. Without him in the EFCC, Nigeria comes to an end. Today, an officer called Magu is the office and like the dictatortorship in 1975, Pa Edwin Clarke as Federal Commissioner for Information sang the tune for Yakubu Gowon to transform and rule forever. That was when it all began and we are yet to outgrow sycophancy 42 years on. In fact, we get worse and mature in it because we did better with Ofonagoro and Ojo Maduekwe in Abacha days and much more in President Olusegun Obasanjo third term bid. Today, the loudspeakers mount the podium for Magu.  But we need to prove these claims because they have terribly dented Nigeria’s image worldwide. The irony is that what is announced is that Nigerians steal government money and hide in the home. The news never announces the opposition or individuals but Nigeria and Nigerians. This government in January last year announced an amount stolen from public coffers. When asked of the breakdown of the figure Minister Mohammed said we should find out via investigative reporting. He just lifted the propaganda figures Nuhu Ribadu and the rest listed in their 1001 charges against one person. In some cases, the amount attributed to one person as stolen while in office was more than the total allocation such officer got. But the world announced the figure attributed to ‘Nigeria’ not opposition. So every Nigerian outside the shores wears the ‘thief’ tag even when you never held any public office.

But were monies stolen in the past administrations? No need for the question? They were stolen a billion times. Who stole those monies? Most Nigerian politicians did and they were from all parties. For instance, there was no difference in financial prudence in the state governments managed by other parties than PDP.

Then who was PDP? Is it those members who are still in PDP or does that include those 70% that migrated to form APC that fateful Saturday in Abuja which I attended the inaugural media meeting at the Yar’Adua Centre? Who then is the corrupt PDP member? It is the one that hasn’t joined the APC?

I raised this issue and a friend once asked me “Is there any one of the arrested persons that never stole money.” My answer is there is hardly any. And I asked him in return that a certain eze, oba, emir made a law that all thieves in the land must be arrested and punished. While he went about catching all real thieves outside, some thieves ran to him for safety and possibly some of his own children were known thieves. Would the fact that the outsider thieves he caught were real thieves justify the fact that he protects thieves in his domain while hunting for others? Would he ever be exculpated of the moral burden of his discriminatory implementation of his own laws? Never!




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