Monthly Archives: January 2016

Capital Punishment for “Capital Criminals”

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Even with the cry especially from the so-called human rights groups across the globe calling for the abolition of capital punishment in countries of the world over, it is quite surprising that quite a number of countries still have it entrenched in their constitution to punish offenders of different forms.

China is one of the very few popular countries that still punish some criminals by sentencing them to death by shooting, lethal injection, and the likes. It is even more surprising that the world’s most powerful country that has human rights deeply entrenched in her constitution actually had 35 cases of capital punishment in 2014, with China recording the highest number of such cases in the same year with 3000 executions.

The argument here is not about whether this type of treatment should be abolished globally or not, it is actually to somewhat examine the “capital crimes” and judge on the right type of punishment deserved. The following illustrations are for our careful and honest assessments.

  • An adult rapes a girl or a woman, and the victim subsequently commits suicide as she is unable to stand the stigmatization, shame, and trauma that come with rape.
  • A family dies from an auto accident due to bad roads that were left unfixed or uncompleted as a result of a corrupt public officer/contractor failing to execute a contract to fix the bad roads.
  • A man is unable to cater to his family for months as a result of unpaid salaries that were put in fixed deposits accounts by top officials of the ministries, leading to some members of the family engaging crimes such as armed robbery, prostitution, and cyber crime.

The illustrations above are just some of the many scenarios happening in our dear country Nigeria and practically everyone can easily relate with at least one of them. The question is that, from the rapist to the corrupt public officer/contractor, to the top officials of the ministries, which one of them can be completely exonerated of committing murder? The recent DasukiGate phenomenon that saw monies meant for the acquisition of ammunition diverted by corrupt official is a vivid example of this case. Thousands of Nigerians have been killed and millions left homeless no thanks to the activities of the Boko boys, and one wonders if some of these lives could have been saved if these looted monies were put to use appropriately.

After these illustrations, I leave you to be the judge of the situation if (God forbid), you happen to be a victim of any of the unfortunate happenings mentioned above.

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The Nigerian Corruption Fight

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#DasukiGate has continued to make the headlines and remain a hot topic ever since the Buhari-led government started its crackdown on corrupt public office holders. Many Nigerians especially those of the now opposing party – PDP, are of the opinion that the fight is one-sided and it is actually used to tackle the members of the PDP. While they might not be totally wrong, the question that should be addressed is whether or not these guys stole the money.

The case of Dasuki is a classic “ole gbe, ole gba” case – “thief steal am, thief collect am” case. While the recent arrest of Isa Jafaru, a close ally of President Buhari might extinguish the claim that the corruption fight is only a witch-haunt, the rumor that he was released by the EFCC after allegedly refunding #100 million of the 170 he was accused of collecting, with an undertaking to refund the remaining 70 leaves a question mark on the fight against corruption.

In my view, what is good for the goose is good for the gander and accordingly, the likes of Raymond Dokpesi and maybe even Dasuki himself should be treated the same way Jafaru has been treated. In the same fight against corruption vein, Nigerians should also look inward and judge objectively irrespective of the side of the fence we are. If we have been fighting the insurgency that has led to the death of thousands to millions of Nigerians for more than half a decade without a significant result only to discover that the claim of some Nigerian soldiers that they were under-funded to tackle the insurgency is real, no thanks to the Dasukigate.

This simply means that the thousands of lives lost due to insurgency can be directly or indirectly linked to Dasukigate just as the lives lost due to auto accidents that occur on bad roads that were left uncompleted by contractors can be linked to these scrupulous contractors. It is therefore imperative that as we judge Dasuki and the collectors of the money meant for fighting the insurgency, we look inwards and look at the multiplier effect of our actions or inaction and assess the tens to hundreds and thousands of lives that would be affected by that singular action or inaction.

All in all, there is a Dasuki in an average Nigerian and it is left to us to correct our ways to ensure the corruption fight we all clamor for is done wholeheartedly if we are to have a new Nigeria we all wish for.

Fire on the Mountain

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After hearing “there is fire on the mountain”, the expected response would be “run run run”. This was exactly what the commercial motorcyclist otherwise called “okada” riders did when a van of policemen tried to arrest and of course, confiscate their bikes in a suburb of the FCT – Kubwa. My okada rider was lucky to have escaped the chase as I hired his service few seconds before the arrival of the men in black.

The current socioeconomic situation of Nigeria would ordinarily necessitate some running but the question is how far can we run, not forgetting the fact that just only a few of us can actually do the running. It is therefore not surprising that just as Asa said in her famous song Fire on the Mountain, “there is fire on the mountain but nobody seems to be on the run”, Nigerians do not seem to be running even as the fire on our mountain can be said to be increasing.

Unemployment, under-employment, insurgency and a host of other issues are continuously fuelling the fire on our mountain and it is only a matter of time before these fires graduate to become uncontrollable infernos. From the North to the South, able and agile Nigerian roam the streets everyday and if the adage “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop” is to come into play, then we can confidently say that the issue of boko haram, biafra, and the other forms of insurgency that currently confront the nation are just child’s play compared to what these idle and probably desperate youths can come up with.

Even as the federal government plans to pay a monthly stipend of N5,000 to every unemployed youth, it is worth noting that this will do little or nothing to rescue our situation as we all agree that it is actually not very feasible for an individual regardless of the age to survive on 5k monthly – just above 166 naira daily. The National Bureau of Statistics in 2014 estimated the number of unemployed youths – employable and unemployable, to be 5.3 million with 1.8 million graduates joining the Nigerian labour market yearly. By my calculations, this number should have risen to nothing less than 6.5 million even as some quarters believe that the actual figure of unemployed persons in Nigeria should be above 20 million. This means five thousand naira per unemployed youths would result in the government spending a minimum of 32 billion naira monthly, same money that can be spent on capital projects that would have multiplier effects on the economy and most especially, the unemployment situation in the country.

The statistics above are not only alarming; they are pathetic and annoying at the same time considering that Nigeria has over 30 million hectares of arable land with less than 40% of this land being utilised, no thanks to the rural-urban migration in search for greener pasture and of course, the exploitation of crude oil.

Thankfully, the price of crude oil is falling globally and this should actually be a blessing to the nation as we can at least for once, look for alternate source of revenue with agriculture being at the forefront.

Nigerians need more than the mere lip-service synonymous with previous administrations if the Fire on our Mountain, Nigeria is to be quenched for good.