“The people are suffering, gnashing their teeth. Prices have gone beyond the reach of the average Nigerian. Corruption now struts about imperiously, on its hands, head, limbs…”
Today, we shall continue our excursion into the realm of Nigeria’s present conundrum, starting with the “HERDSMENGATE”.
The “Herdsmengate” is all too familiar to spill ink over. Suffice it to say that we are in an era where the life of a cow is priced higher than that of a human being. Where 300 cows are rustled, over 200 human heads must be cut to satiate the bacchanalian appetite of the unseen but loomy gods and goddesses of cattle. We are told to allow them destroy and drive us away from our ancestral homes, rather than allow herdsmen kill us. We are preached to learn to peacefully co-habit with AK-47-wielding “mercenaries from Libya”. We are warned that we must allow cattle destroy our farmlands for peace to reign. We are cautioned to do away with anti-grazing laws so that we can see the next day. The murderers come out openly, thump their chest, and own up to the grisly murders and blood-letting. They are never arrested, never arraigned, never prosecuted. Cows now sack our children from classrooms, hold us up in traffic gridlock in our cities, eat up our yam produce. Yet, we must not talk, must not complain. Where it is common knowledge that cows are killed for meat to celebrate humans, the story has changed to humans being killed to celebrate cows! What a world!
In this macabre dance of death, presidential spokesmen are busy doing statistical calculation as to which government, GEJ’s or PMB’s, has witnessed more cold-blooded slaughtering of Nigerians.
Life has been reduced to a matter of arithmetical figures. We have become unshockable, unempathetic, and unsympathetic. God! How patient can you be in the midst of human cruelty. At first, PMB told a shocked nation that the marauding herdsmen were trained fleeing remnants of fighters of the late Col. Muamar Gaddafi of Libya, a man who was killed over seven years ago. Then, in an earlier write-up, I suggested to Mr. President that the fact that the killers were foreigners invading Nigeria was more reason he should immediately deploy the armed forces to kill them and halt further incursions into Nigeria’s territorial space. To be sure, Mr. President is the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and even the police. Where foreigners, according to the President, have declared war on the sovereignty and suzerainty of Nigeria, it behoves on PMB to defend Nigeria and Nigerians. This was one of his key electoral promises, to lead from the front as a General. Nigerians believed him. They are still waiting for that to happen. The security and welfare of the people being the primary purpose of government (section 14 (2) of 1999 Constitution), he has a duty under sections 217 and 218 of the same Constitution as the C-in-C of the Nigerian Police Force. Under these sections, the President can deploy the armed forces to suppress internal insurrection and external aggression, with a view to maintaining the dignity, cohesiveness and territorial integrity of Nigeria. This doesn’t seem to be happening. From Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos in Plateau State, to Demsa, Suwa and Burukulu in Adamawa State, Nigeria is a nightmarish theatre of crimson blood. From Ntule, Donga, Takum to Shaakaa in Taraba State; Nimbo in Enugu State to Ekpoma, Igiode, Ugboha and Agaasha in Benue, to Sokoto (over 39 just slaughtered in cold blood), up to Zamfara, Borno, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Delta, Imo, Anambra, etc, no state appears safe from these marauders. Then, the President suddenly said it’s politicians behind the killings. Why not fish them out? Perhaps, the President does not know that helpless Nigerians in the asphyxiating trauma of daily killings do not believe him. As we were reeling under these conflicting excuses, Mr. President told a bewildered nation that he has done his best in terms of security and that Nigerians should resort to praying! Good gracious!! But the murderers are known. They own up. They thump their chests. They boast about it. No security agents arrest them. They are above the law, projected, serenaded, cocooned in the comfort of governmental protection. Those like General T.Y. Danjuma and Apostle Suleiman, who call for self-preservation, show it is the first law of nature. Let it be known that the right to self-defence is in section 33 (2) of the Constitution, section 59 and 65 of the Penal Code and sections 32 (3) and 286 of the Criminal Code that are operational in the North and sections 32 (3) and 286 that operate in the southern part of Nigeria.
Then, the government talked about cattle colonies. It was roundly rejected. Then it brought up grazing routes. We were told that the murders were occasioned by blockage of grazing routes. Then we were informed that it was because of anti-grazing laws passed by some states. This did not add up. Then the government told us to prepare for ranching. Fine. But, the catch here is that the government will fund it and states must provide land for it. In a federal set-up?
What is the business of government in private business? The last time I checked, ranching was personal business. Like piggery, poultry, rabbitry, snail breeding, trading, cocoa, rubber, groundnut and palm produce farming. Will the government also produce special lands for Nigerians involved in these ventures and pay for them? What is going on with Nigeria, this otherwise beautiful country? Why are some being erected as lords of the manor and others as servile hoi polloi?
What about the “NAIRAGATE”, where PMB and his aides had promised to make the exchange rate N45 to $1? Today, the government is celebrating taking the naira from N185 – N195 to the dollar that it met it, to the present N460 – N365 per dollar. The naira has been so abused that it dances like a yoyo, nay, like the Esan Egbabonalimi acrobat. It is freely traded for scarce dollars at all airports on Nigeria. Meanwhile, like Emir Sanusi once noted, some Nigerians are simply round-tripping it, making hundreds of millions on a daily basis, while sitting in their gardens. In nearby Ghana, it is less than 6 cedis to the dollar! Where, how, when, why did we get it wrong? Baba God, are you hearing, hearing, hearing, my cries, Nigerians’ cries? The people are suffering, gnashing their teeth. Prices have gone beyond the reach of the average Nigerian. Corruption now struts about imperiously, on its hands, head, limbs, even buttocks, like a proud peacock.
Kingdom news of November 18, 2017, published the following from a “concerned citizen”. I cannot do better research than this. Read on.
“Below are 41 promises contained in the APC manifesto as published by the party prior to the presidential election.
The promises below are extracted from the two official documents released by APC as their manifesto titled ‘Securing Nigeria’s Future’ and ‘Roadmap to a New Nigeria’, all published by the APC and signed by the then Presidential aspirant, now President Muhammadu Buhari. Please, note that some of the promises that do not require funds to be implemented are even yet to even be initiated.
Securing Nigeria’s Future
Initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit. (This simply means that the APC actually promised to restructure Nigeria and entrench true federalism, if voted into power). Page 6; Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases. Page 6; Require full disclosure in media outlets, of all government contracts over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals. Page 6; Amend the Constitution to require Local Governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10m. Page 6; Consult and amend the Constitution to enable States and Local Governments to create city, local government and state policing systems. Page 7; Bring permanent peace and solutions to the insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict-prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe, and Kaduna. Page 8; Initiate policies to ensure that Nigerians are free to live and work in any part of the country by removing state of origin, tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations from documentation requirements in our identification of citizens and replace these with the State of Residence and fashion out the appropriate minimal qualification for obtaining such a state of residency, nation-wide. Page 8; Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12% annually. Page 9; 5 million new jobs by 2019. Page 9; Put in place a N300bn Regional Growth Fund with an average of N50bn in each geopolitical region … to encourage private sector enterprise and to support places currently reliant on only the public sector to migrate to a private sector reality. Page 10; Amend the Constitution and the Land Use Act. Page 10; Create an additional middle class of at least 4 million new homeowners by 2019. Page 10; Create a Social Welfare Program of at least Five Thousand Naira (N5,000) that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunisation to help promote family stability. Page 10; Provide allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for Twelve (12) months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programmes. Page 10; Construct a 5,000km of superhighway including service trunks and (b) building of up to 6,800km of modern railway completed by 2019; Page 11; Embark on PPP schemes that will ensure every one of the 36 states has one functional airport. Page 11; Speedily pass the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensure that local content issues are fully addressed. Page 12; Make Nigeria the world’s leading exporter of LNG through the creation of strategic partnerships. Page 12; Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for education. Page 13; Provide one meal a day for all primary school pupils. That will create jobs in agriculture, catering, and delivery services. Page 14; Establish at least six new universities of science and technology with satellite campuses in various states. Page 14; Establish technical colleges and vocational centres in each state of the federation. Page 14; Increase the quality of all federal government-owned hospitals to world class standard by 2019. Page 15; Pro- vide free antenatal care for pregnant women; free health care for babies and children up to school-going age and for the aged; and free treatment for those afflicted with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Page 15; Create an insurance policy for our journalists as the nation faces hard times and our journalists face more dangers. Page 15; Establish zonal world-class sports academies and training institutes and ensure that Nigeria occupies a place of pride in global sports and athletics; Page 16; Assist Nollywood to fully develop into world-class movie industry that can compete effectively with Hollywood and Bollywood in due course.”
(To be concluded next week)
Thought for the week
“Don’t make any promises that you can’t keep.” (Ann Marie Aguilar).