By Sani Bello Hamza
Nigeria; a country naturally blessed with abundant resources; a fine and reliable crude oil; a thriving agriculture; a resilient youth and a hardworking population. Yet, it citizens are trapped in a third-person induced hardship and suffering. The citizens of the country are unable to cater for their needs and their immediate families.
The tragedy of Nigeria can be succinctly summed up in the cliche “Nigeria, so rich and so poor.” The country is extremely rich, and yet, it citizens are extremely poor.
Someone may ask; how can that be possible? We know Poverty and abundance cannot be placed on the same table.
It is possible because the leaders are not driven by passion to lead but greed to accumulate wealth from public confers. Politics is now a get rich quick scheme and not an avenue to serve. The gap between upper and lower class is irreparable and the middle class suddenly went to extinction.
Those at the upper class are living extravagantly, because, the leaders at the realm of affairs of the country have turn the country’s treasury to their personal account; they withdraw at will without recourse to explanation or auditing.
It is now a norm that politicians live outside their monthly or annual allocations. They rake public funds for personal and family usage.
This is happening in a country where over 20 million children are out of school and 84 million living in multidimensional poverty–out of its 200 million population.
While growing up as kids, we heard, and we are still hearing of the Abacha loot. And, recently, the Diezani saga and currently the Emefiele Brouhaha. Wherein, the former CBN Governor is under investigation for whisking away with 89 trillion Naira stamp duty charges deducted from the accounts of Nigerians.
In 2022, when Hon. Gudaji Kazaure, a former member of House of Representatives, was on air exposing the menaces and how the former CBN governor, his deputies and other political appointees milked the Nation’s Treasury and walkway with a whooping sum of 89 Trillion Naira; we made a joke of him and thought it was a tale of the moonlight or a fictive movie.
The former lawmaker claimed former president, Buhari, appointed him alongside others to investigate and recover Stamp Duty and other bank charges deducted from the account of Nigerians.
According to him, his committee uncovered the sum of 89 Trillion Naira that was unaccounted and unremitted to the federation account; courtesy of Emefiele and his deciphers.
The report generated mixed reactions among Nigerians; some of us believed the allegations were true, others believed the Lawmaker was trying to blackmail and tarnish the image of the CBN Governor. A renowned journalist argued it was impossible as Nigeria do not have such huge amount in its Treasury. Others went ahead to question Hon. Kazaure’s mental health. Interesting!
After almost a year of Hon. Kazaure’s Brouhaha, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu inaugurated a special presidential committee, headed by special investigator Jim Obazee, to probe the activities of CBN and other affiliated institutions.
The committee submitted a report to the president, wherein the chief investigator recommends the prosecution of Emefiele and 13 others for gross financial misconduct and mismanagement.
According to the report, the committee found out there are 593 bank accounts located in the UK, USA and China which the former governor used to illegally keep Nigeria’s wealth. The committee also uncovers 543.4 million pounds kept in the UK Banks.
The most shocking revelation of the investigation is not the uncovered 593 bank accounts, but the purported Naira redesign which subjected innocent Nigerians to untold hardship and lead to the winding up of many businesses. The committee found out the activity was neither recommended by the CBN board, nor was it approved by the president. Contrary to section 19 (1) of the CBN Act. Emefiele acted on the advice given to him by Tunde Sabiu, former President Bubari’s chief protocol officer. The redesign was purely intended to frustrate the political ambition of some politicians and prevent them from attaining their desired offices.
There was also a payment of 6.23 million dollars from the CBN vault to unknown foreign election observers whose identity is still unknown. Apart from the 1.3 billion Naira paid as legal fees on the Naira redesign and related cases.
This is just a part of the investigation as the committee has not lay it hands on the Stamp Duty related documents. I’m sure there are more shocking revelations coming our way in the coming days/months.
Nigeria has suffered a lot in the hands of recalcitrant public servants and the country is too fragile to bear another burden. A thorough investigation should be carried out with expertise and dexterity. The president should make sure those involved in this inhumane act face the wrath of the law and are prosecuted accordingly.
Hon. Gudaji Kazaure has been vindicated and it’s time to prosecute Emefiele!
Sani Bello Hamza is a Law student at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, he writes from Zaria and can be reached through his email; firstname.lastname@example.org or 09013506168.