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« There is No Such Thing as Niger-Delta | Main | All Roads Lead to World Igbo Congress (WIC) Boston, Massachussettes »

August 31, 2006

Torn Between EFCC and Due Process

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- The Economic and Financial Crime Commission has come under fire lately for the rough but Nigerian ways of dealing with looters. Of course, I am concerned about due process. I am even more concerned about those who think they can get rid of Nuhu Ribadu and would like to give a dog a bad name before they hang him.

I hear hypocrites’ cries about how “his” war against corruption is sectional and a tool for Ali Baba, I mean Baba Iyabo, against his enemies. But when he asked how many Nigerian Head of State has allowed anyone to go after his friends, they go deaf and dumb. Remember, Nuhu dared not go after Tafa Balogun because Tafa knew too much about Ali Baba.

Even if this entire tirade against Nuhu Ribadu is justified, what stops him from going after a former President hoping he does not die in office, as he sometimes wished for Nigeria? Due Process is a very important part of equity and fairness as I wish for if my butt is on the line. Ladies and Gentlemen, guess what happens when our butt is on fire, we replace due process with extraordinary powers. Yet, these are people who value due process more than Nigerians. They do the unthinkable, kidnapped innocent folks with unmarked planes in foreign countries in collaboration with people outside the law; they create special prison camps and abuse innocent folks. It is the reason they always use to justify fighting their greatest fear of evil, threatening their privileged way of life.

If I may ask, what are the greatest challenges facing Nigeria? Many of us will agree that corruption is one of them. Where else would a dictator who stole the country blind with impunity, dislocate people’s free choice and installed his cronies, plan a come back in a free and fair election but Nigeria. Whenever Ribadu swears never again, people cry -Aba. Fellow Nigerians are we sincere about cleaning up corruption or we are waiting for our turn to chop? We know that we can loot enough money to fight Ribadu in a court of law to a stand still with a smirk and a wink on our face. Whenever I take position like this, I feel so uncomfortable realizing that it can be used against innocent people.

Corruption may not be our greatest evil as some would like to justify its investment inside the Country, as in the case of Adenuga. The fact is many Nigerians looters who have no fear of God, now fear EFCC. That is progress my man. Many of them are so old, someone must have promised them that they need the cash to buy their way into the bosom of the goddesses in heaven after death. I hear about the distinction we make between those who invest at home and those who hand over coal to Newcastle. In other words, as long as some of us benefit from the resources of all of us, chikena! Another excuse is – it is our money, he is our son. Yet the area in support of their sons is floating with pollution and toxins, not milk and honey to justify however “meager” their allocation. As long as a few obsequious and “oloshious” fellows benefit from their loot.

Yes, there is hardly any country in the whole world that is free of corruption. There is something, somehow that is unique to Nigeria. It is egregiously right in your face. Not only are they worshipped, they become god-fathers of Governors and anointer of a President. Someone has to turn against them and say enough is enough. Looted money is free money that is spent freely. That is why it is easy to gamble big with free money, invest in foreign localities without any stake, invest big in shallow businesses that never survive their owners, squander big time in favor of academic prostitutes and endeavors that can justify their voracious appetite for unsubstantial grandiose projects.

Some progress stoppers have a way of curbing doers in action, knowing full well they have no good intentions. All they want to do is nip progress in the mud – “Oh I do not mind Nuhu Ribadu at all, I just don’t like the way he does it.” If not him, who? If not now, when? The same was said about the old country lawyer Senator Sam Ervin, the United States Chairman of the House Watergate committee that probed President Richard Nixon and later became a hero. It was said about Archibald Cox, the Special Counsel appointed and ordered fired by Richard Nixon when he felt the heat in his lap.

Many of their sympathizers have invoked the names of our founding fathers as bribe takers who laid the building blocks for poverty in Nigeria. I hate to ask the god of Thunder to strike anyone, but where is the comparison of ten percent bribe to 120 percent bribe. They collect the extra 20 percent from the following contract until we all loose. Some lay the blame on the ease by which we got our Independence. Ease? Ask the children of those who never live to see it and died in labor strikes or those who were incarcerated for opposing colonial mentality, at home and abroad. No wonder, some of our children say they have no heroes.

Since many of us take our car to mechanics, how would we like it if the repairman came back to us and offer us 50 percent of the same money we gave him, to go and repair our car ourselves? Would you like your contractor to give you 70 percent of the money you gave him to build your house back, asking you to build it yourself? That car or that house is Nigeria my brothers and sisters. There is no justification for any form of corruption. As we turn a blind eye, we encourage it and it gets bigger and heavier on our shoulder until we all sink with it.

I do not know of a country that becomes economic power based on natural resources alone. There are many that depended on cheap labor though. It suffices to say that people ingenuity make a country a lasting economic power. One of the problems with oil riches that have become a curse for Nigeria is that it breeds complacency. It encourages and breeds laziness by example. Since the man outside of power wants in to loot his own, he looses his thinking faculty to use his skill to be productive. Since the new generation sees how easy it is to become rich, they loose their motivation to build a solid foundation for progress of our Country. Without a solid foundation, we lack the sturdy platform needed for economic take off.

Every one of us including Nuhu Ribadu needs some form of balance and check. He has been blamed everywhere in Nigeria for his excesses, including his village when he went after the Chief Executive of the Bank of the North. However, that is exactly the language Nigerians understand. As long as the rule of law exists, EFCC will be checked by a proper court of law. Which court of law is going to check a corrupt Dictator? Please give EFCC the support they need.

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

Posted by Administrator at August 31, 2006 07:32 AM


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