Nigeria And Workers of Iniquities in Public Institutions, By Sola Olatunji

My recent  article on  various infractions in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, especially  selling of  new currency notes at social functions during the weekends, while CBN is busy circulating dirty and smelling currency notes across the counters in commercial banks received widespread  commendations from within  and in the diaspora.

I am also worried that we may be back in another macabre dance with the current scarcity of currency notes in our banks. By now, Nigerians are tired of the various propaganda coming out from the CBN such as “we know those who are hoarding our currency, we have enough currency in circulation” and many more. Enough of this!

The mindboggling investigation in the CBN again exposes the activities of the reckless elite who have become gangsters and conspirators, using their positions in the public institutions to  wreak  havocs on the economy of this country.

With reference to my last article, there was this particular thrilling feedback I got from one of my ardent diaspora followers who elected to remain anonymous in this write-up.

In his response, he insisted that the problems of underdevelopment facing Nigeria for ages has been the handiwork of unpatriotic political glutton who thrives in criminal enterprise and operate across the value chain of public institutions as collaborators and conspirators who plunder our common wealth with reckless abandonment, yet without consequences.

In his view, rather than use public institutions to solve humanity problems, they use public institutions to oppress, intimidate, circumvent, manipulate  and  privatise public assets to enrich themselves and their families..

The event unfolding from the investigation panel reports on the CBN has clearly shown how our elite and political armed robbers successfully cornered public institutions to empower themselves and their cronies.

The case of Godwin Emefiele who came up with the currency redesigning policy without human face that sent some Nigerians to their early graves and also destroyed the means of livelihood of many is today justifying his actions by carrying the biggest Bible as a sign of moral probity during  appearances in court, which in my view amounts to  sheer mockery of the Christian religion.

Nigeria Police Force
Nigeria Police Force

My friend in the UK insisted that almost all the public institutions in Nigeria are involved in different kind of criminal enterprise. In his view, the need to beam a strong searchlight on the activities of some public institutions has become inevitable.  .

It’s also my conviction that we must end this siege on our collective patrimony by these workers of iniquities.

Public institutions are desirable in every society in order to achieve political and economic good governance. They exist in every society to guarantee political and economic chemistry between the citizens and government in order to ensure uninterrupted flow of communication about government  policies.

In my view, this is the right time to scrap the proliferation of public institutions by dusting  the Oronsaye report from the archive and be courageous enough to implement it. Enough of the wastage of public resources!

I once emphasized the need for President Bola Tinubu to be courageous enough and set up an independent auditing team to investigate the activities of NNPC in the last few years just as the case of the CBN .The corporation, which is the cash cow of this country, is infested with massive corruption. So, the need to overhaul this corporation is very imperative.

This corporation is soaked in the cobwebs of criminal enterprise on account of lack of transparency in their operations and the huge funds they collected from the Petroleum marketers running into billions, if not trillions, and one year down line, they are yet to make any supply or refund. Some of these marketers have died  while others are groaning and already out of business with heavy interests to pay their banks and money lenders due to no faults of theirs..

This is how some Nigerians in public institutions use their positions to destroy Nigerians rather than improve their lives. It’s is sad that the people who run these networks of criminals in NNPCL and other public institutions are walking the streets freely.

To further paint the gloomy picture of how our public institutions have been used by elite and political robbers to fleece the citizens of our collective patrimony, the need to point  searchlight on the Nigerian customs service has become imperative.

Seme border
Seme border

A visit to Nigerian Customs Service, which is one of our  public institutions created by law to ensure that contraband goods are not allowed into our country and ensure that appropriate duties are paid on goods imported or exported out of our borders shows that customs officers are partners with smugglers.

A visit  to our markets in Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Akure, Okitipupa, Aba,Onitsha, Benin, Abeokuta, Owerri, Kano, Abuja, Kaduna and others will reveal the influx of contraband goods into our country and how the business is booming.

Another public institution that deserves public scrutiny is the Nigerian Immigration Service. In your first visit to this country as a visitor, be on account of business, tourism, religion or educational,  the first public institution you are likely to come in contact with is the Nigerian Immigration Service.

There is this wise saying in the social palace that ‘first impression matters’ because the memories may last longer. It is very sad and barbaric that some  officers at the immigration desk subject visitors to all manners of human  degradation in a bid to collect bribes from them.. I read in a publication recently where a tourist rated Benin immigration service higher than Nigeria just because of bribery in our border.

In the last 10 years, there have been passport racketeering at the immigration service as if nothing can be done to ameliorate the situation.. This is very disappointing and sacrilegious for certain people who are conspirators to use public institution to promote their criminal enterprise. The Nigerian immigration service was at its lowest ebbs until the arrival of Dr Tunji Ojo, who came to restore sanity into the institution.

In the same vein, through his sagacity and ingenuity, the minister has been  able to raise over N500m and paid fines of 4,000 inmates who couldn’t pay their fines and have been feeding on the  account of the government.

This article will have no serious impact if I don’t bring the Nigerian police under public scrutiny. The Nigerian Police as an institution is seen and described as a friend of the citizens, but in reality, the public thinks otherwise about this description.

To be sincere, Nigerian police have undergone tremendous changes in recent times, but there is no denying the fact that we still have some lawless and recalcitrant elements within the institution that should be weeded out. Therefore, the need for continuous reforms within the institution is inevitable.

The police were not created to recover debts or mount illegal road blocks to collect toll fees. The issue of individual police officers intimidating and trampling on the rights of citizens just because they are police officers should be condemned in its entirety

Those who think the institution is an avenue for them to make money at the expense of the citizens should be flushed out, and appropriate punishment should be melted out to such culprits.  We can’t but celebrate those who are excelling when they travel on UN missions. These officers are also drawn from this public institution, which means we can all be better.

Then comes the  Standard Organisations of Nigeria (SON) .  This institution was created by law to ensure sanity in terms of goods produced and imported into our country. In other words, to prevent substandard goods from finding their ways  into our country, or allow substandard goods to be exported to other countries from our country. What do we have in our country at present?

Nigeria has since become a dumping ground for fake tyres, fake cables, fake parts, fake drugs and all manners of adulterated goods.

The consequences of fake goods on the health of the citizens call for unimaginable worries. The magnitude of fake goods in our country can only be possible because of the criminal enterprise of the public institution with the mandate to prevent the influx of substandard goods into our country.

What we can do is flush out the bad eggs in this institution and make the institution efficient so that it can work in line with its original mandate.

The Nigerian Navy is also under the public searchlight.  This institution, in all perspectives, represents sanity and honour. In their illuminating dressing code, they are qualified to have handshake with the Pope. But  this institution created by law to protect our maritime domain have since added another responsibility to their bits which is the protection of oil assets..

Otunba Sola Olatunji
Otunba Sola Olatunji

Whether this responsibility has any force of law is another ball game. In the last 10 years, this country has lost so much revenue to oil thefts, and it sounds inconceivable that the Nigerian Navy, the gatekeeper, can’t find the oil thieves. It’s very, very important for the government to put its searchlight on this conspiracy of oil thefts.

This collective embarrassment by public institutions must be a serious concern to the government. And if really the government is to be trusted with a renewed hope, then the black ship and workers of iniquities in the country must be dealt with either through public execution or driven to the market place for some good strokes of the cane in the public.

.Otunba Sola Olatunji, Chairman, Ikale Heritage Development Association, IHDA, writes from Lagos.


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