Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


From Pythons to Pipelines: Unraveling Bizarre Tales of Embezzlement in Nigerian Governance

President Muhammad Buhari told Nigerians in one of his campaigns in 2014 that the correctional centers should expand their facilities because many public officials would be their guests if elected President. Sadly, under his watch, the uncommon happened. It was shocking to see humans in spiritual vessels of animals that cannot be jailed used to perpetrate looting of government treasuries.

On August 29, 2022, Matthew Ma of saharareporters.com serialized how monkeys and pythons stole money from government vaults in 2018 across the nation. Even when some of his ministers who served for eight years were allegedly fingered in some improprieties, PMB allowed them to be. We need to be talking about some of the bizarre things that happened in that era so that the government wouldn’t think Nigerians are amnesic.

First, in 2018, a Salesclerk with the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Makurdi, Philomena Chieshe, said marauding snakes, possibly pythons, which have large appetites for swallowing big animals swallowed N36 million cash that was proceeds from the sales of scratch cards. I am not too sure if snake charmers caught the pythons for detention in the zoo.

Second, in the same year, it was reported that the sum of N70 million was collected by the 7th Assembly Senators and handed over to Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was chairman of the Northern Senators Forum. But it would seem Senator Abdullahi Adamu was unkind to a set of monkeys that later embarked on a retaliatory attack. During the monkeys’ protestation, they carted away the N70 million from Senator Adamu’s vault in his farmhouse and escaped into the evil forest where the EFCC cannot visit.

On August 12, 2022, the king of the animal kingdom sent termites to raid the storeroom of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and ate the vouchers, which would have explained how a whopping sum of N17.128 billion was spent.

Barely seven months into the inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, some of his appointees would instead gradually shift from the use of animals metaphorically stealing from tills and vaults. They now use selective amnesia as a reason to erroneously transfer money through some pipelines into private vaults. But the difference between now and the PMB’s 2014-2019 administration is that the EFCC is moving swiftly to recover some stolen money before snakes, monkeys, and termites could swallow or eat them up. For example, the EFCC twitted that it had recovered the sum of N39.8 billion out of the N44 Billion from the former National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIPA), Halima Shehu, who allegedly confessed that she transferred N44 Billion from the government coffers in five days in error.

In another eye-popping scandal, within the first few months of service, Betta Edu, the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, ordered the transfer of over 585 million naira in public funds into a personal bank account. If true, then she violated Chapter 7, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations, 2009, which prohibits payment of public money into a private account.

In the past, many white papers into looted funds never saw the light of the day because they were treated as a political party family affair. We hope that now that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (PBAT) has done well in suspending all those involved in the Bettagate and Halimagate scandals, I hope he would do well to prosecute the offenders and, if found guilty, face the music of sanctions for betraying the public trust in the use of their offices.

These stories should not go the way of pythons, monkeys, and termites of 2018 and 2022. With what PBAT has done, maybe the cleansing of the Aegean stable has commenced. Nigerians should help the President by not forgetting these stories until the nation gets justice. Let us talk about it in private and open spaces. When we do, others would be cautious about how they illegally dip hands into our commonwealth without our consent.

Grace and peace!!!