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August 19, 2018

Addressing The Kidnapping Problem In Nigeria (6)

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Rev. Fr. Dr. Nathaniel I. Ndiokwere

Rev. Fr. Dr. Nathaniel I. Ndiokwere

Let winners take note. Nigerians are very critical, unforgiving, often merciless in judgment, easily disappointed, very impatient with their leaders. Very soon you may hear “regrets”, “Had we known”. Winners should remember how the people (the Israelites) murmured against Moses: “Why did you bring us out here to die. Why did you bring us out here, no water, no food…….It would have been better to die in Egypt as slaves….! Winners, if you do not perform from ‘Day One’, Nigerians will murmur. If you procrastinate, they will grumble!……..

Coming to the concretes, the writer addressed the president:

 

President, Goodluck Jonathan can never fail Nigerians in the area of power and electricity. Petroleum products must remain cheap and flowing everywhere. President Jonathan, whatever other programs he may have, must not close his ears to the people’s protests against the activities of law makers. Their salaries are said to be too high and scandalous and must be slashed to the minimum! The Bible says it all, “By their fruits you shall know them”. Nigerians are tired of “business as usual”. They want change. They voted for change. They don’t want old faces, crooks and 419’ers in new administrations. Any administration that does not begin with anti-corruption campaign is already a failure. The ‘people’s army’, ‘unhired and unpaid agents’ of their loved ‘Moses’ and ‘Messiah’ and candidates at the polls are watching the winners, and big brothers very closely. They cannot be disappointed!

 

 

LAWMAKERS EARN N338.6 BILLION!

It is unlikely that our voice was heard or that the outcry ever captured the attention of the president and the lawmakers, hence the cry is loudest now that many more Nigerians, the great majority, still find themselves in the camp of the marginalized, and operating much more on an intolerable poverty line.

Most Nigerian newspapers have also thrown light to Nigeria’s utmost predicament, injustice and callousness on the part of our leaders: It is not hard to draw conclusions that it ‘s on account of the type of jumbo pay package that Nigerian lawmakers receive in the business of lawmaking in our country that politicians are always ready to go to any length, even to kill to grab a seat in the National Assembly. “Jumbo Pay: Lawmakers earn N338.6 billion” was a Newspaper (Daily Sun) headline, Friday, June 3, 2011.

According to a breakdown, 469 lawmakers will earn N338.6 billion in the next four years, investigations revealed, and that was an authoritative report. It will cost the country that whopping sum in taxpayers’ money to keep the 469 members of the seventh National Assembly in office for the next four years.

The amount which covers salaries and sundry allowances (accommodation, vehicle, furniture, house maintenance, domestic staff, entertainments, utilities, constituency, leave allowances, newspapers, periodicals and so on)  to be earned by the lawmakers does not, however, factor in the deferential pays and other gratuities  that go to the principal officers of the two chambers of the federal legislature. It does not also include expenses incurred on duty tours. It is also silent on the unverifiable lump sums that come from ‘oversight functions’ and ‘lobbying’.

Whatever these calculations might come up to, one thing is clear to the ordinary Nigerians. The amount is too large to imagine. The bottom line is that apart from other additional ‘remunerations’ an average Nigerian lawmaker takes home at least a monthly pay package of  sixteen million naira (N16,000,000). If true, that is odd news for more than 50 million jobless youth in Nigeria.

I would not blame the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who has asked the Federal Government to downsize the labor force if it must achieve anything meaningful as far as economic resuscitation is concerned in the country. The downsizing of the labor force will however be meaningless if it is only the civil service, we know that will be affected.  Malam Sanusi might be right when he tried to make his case against the civil service. To Sanusi, it is illogical for a country to have its economy developed when it spends 70 per cent of its revenue in servicing salaries and gratuities of workers. He maintained:

“At the moment, 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue goes for payment of salaries and entitlements of civil servants, leaving 30 per cent for development of 167 million Nigerians. That means that for every naira government earns, 70 kobo is consumed by civil servants,” Sanusi contended. The solution, according to Sanusi is that: “You have to fire half of the civil service because the revenue government has is supposed to be for 167 million Nigerians. Any society where government spends 70 per cent of its revenue on its civil service has a problem. It is unsustainable,” he argued.

Many will surely get angry and differ from Sanusi’s call for mass retrenchment, arguing that the country is already battling with the menace of unemployment. Such measure may increase poverty, armed robbery and state of insecurity. There may be need to consider other areas from which the government’s spending cost could be downsized. Malam Sanusi hit the nail at the right spot, when he wondered with millions of other Nigerians the sense in the jumbo pay for Nigerian lawmakers The CBN governor has here rightly taken the political system of the country to the cleaners. He wondered what manner of country would elect over 100 senators and about 400 House of Representatives members in the name of lawmaking. He said a cursory mathematical summation of the expenses of the executive arm of government, the lawmakers and the civil servants would reveal the fact that these three arms of government are the ones taking the lion’s share of the nation’s revenue.

It is not only Sanusi who has bemoaned this tragedy. The British man, Richard Darden, an expert in African affairs could not comprehend the situation. He pointed out while addressing Nigerian politicians during the 51st independent anniversary celebrations in Abuja that the staggering margin of income disparity between the highest paid Nigerian politicians and the have-nots, languishing in man-created misery throughout Nigeria is no doubt alarming.  It can cause the staunchest of hearts to break, he asserted.   He continued:

 

It is even more unacceptable that in a country with the above statistics, that the politicians are the highest paid in the world. $1 million dollars for a parliamentary position as salary, with another $1 million in expenses is obscene.

 

(8)  THE AFTERMATH OF INSATIABLE LUST FOR WEALTH IN NIGERIA

 

(a)  ‘We slaughtered hunchback to live big’

 

This newspaper headline:  “Suspected ritualists confession: ‘We slaughtered hunchback to live big’” may help drum the ugly lesson hard into the heads of Nigerian leaders, the young and old in Nigeria. The future looks really bleak if the number of billionaire clubs in Nigeria is allowed to proliferate.

“We also want to live big after seeing other young boys that are not even our age group living in affluence, riding good and exotic cars, living in good houses and enjoying the good things of life”. These were the words of Samuel Olatunji, paraded by the police authorities  in Akure, the Ondo State capital, for the ritual killing of a 25-year old, Adeoye Dovo, a hunchback. Adeoye was an SSS3 student in a private school and lived with his parents at Bashorun Quarters at Ago-Alaye area in Odigbo local government area of the state.

The suspects, three of them – wanted to get rich by all means;  they were ready to kill to achieve this purpose. So they approached a herbalist, Oluwatosin Elebile for money ritual. The death of the Adeoye led to violent reaction from youths in the community who set ablaze vehicles and houses of the suspected ritualists. Parading the suspects – Olatunji and the herbalist Ondo State police commissioner, Sani Mogaji, said Olatunji had confessed to the ritual killing. The two other suspects, Dayo and Holo, are on the run. Such stories are reported daily in Nigerian newspapers.

 

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