If we efficiently managed our resources as other great nations do, Nigeria would have no business borrowing to fund infrastructures. Little piles of the Kobo we throw away make the Naira. Recently, a Judge was mad over the plea bargain entered into by the government prosecutors in a case involving some crude oil thieves. These guys were charged under fragile and witless sections of the law, which allowed them to walk out freemen with a paltry sum of a little over two thousand Naira for stealing crude oil worth over two hundred million Naira (N200m).
That is not the whole story. I was also shocked as the Judge when I read that crude oil valued at over two hundred million Naira (N200m) was auctioned for seventeen million Naira (17m). By the time one takes away the expenses used in prosecuting the case, I doubt Nigeria would have up to one million Naira left. And we are looking for money? How can a two thousand Naira penalty stop crude theft? How can we lose crude oil and refined product worth $41.9 billion stolen from Nigeria in the last ten years – (NEITI) and yet unable to plug the hemorrhaging economic pipes?
How can China see how we connive and pamper oil thieves who milk our country dry still borrow Nigeria’s money? How can China continue to loan Nigeria money when it knows that the oil we have is a depletable asset and that the heightened levels of insecurity across the nation can break it?
Nigeria is so blessed in human and material resources. But when a country use political pipelines to crudely collect taxes and levies, give peanuts to the government, which in turn make the collectors richer than the state so that they could in future fund electioneering campaigns, there is no way that country can quickly get out of the current vicissitudes. China’s putting a brake on advancing loans to Nigeria is worrisome. This is a great reason to step back, appraise our failings, and begin to be serious with the way we collect and manage our revenues because what they see about us, we cannot see.
All the government resorts to when it fails in its fiduciary duties, is to look for easy ways of making money off the poor masses. Check out all the taxes and levies on the commoner’s withdrawals and savings, spiking of masses tires for illegal tolls that go into private pockets, and the harassment of traders and hawkers, and you will understand what I mean. Yet, the same government agents cannot stop vessels bigger than two-story buildings ferrying crude illegally across our borders, and when it does, it gives it back to the mafia at a meager rate. Sad!
One thing that countries crippled by socio-economic failings have in common is lack of effective consequence management. Such a country will continue to loom in poverty because it has no political will to enforce its own rules, cannot be bankable nor attract serious and honest investors.
May God open our eyes to see the injustices we are doing to ourselves because of the whiff of money and fame.
Grace and peace!!!