What lofty and enduring dream could sprout in us when we have become accustomed to squalor, habituated to decrepitude, made our peace with detritus? What hope is there for us when we fetishise Dubai and flaunt our expensive Louis Vuitton handbags, and yet fail to realise that our country has become—is—an endless open toilet, overflowing with septic sludge? Okey Ndibe chronicles his recent visit to Nigeria, which he describes as a “nightmare”.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s critical comments that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt” countries have caused quite a stir on social media. The comments were made during a discussion with the Queen, just before the start of the London Anti-Corruption Summit. Interestingly, early this year, President Muhammadu Buhari admitted that Nigerians have a bad reputation abroad, but noted “we are on our way to salvage that”. Could Nigeria ever shake off this reputation?
What is however required in the short and long term is a new popular African approach to off shore accounts and deals that hide the movement of money and avoidance of tax via illicit deals. This is because it is our political and business elite that are involved with a level of impunity that indicates that they do not see themselves getting into any sort of trouble if they are caught.
Corruption goes much deeper than the Guptas. The president and the ANC have steadily weakened the country’s defences and subordinated the state, paving the way for a plutocracy.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says the country has recovered more than $2 trillion that had been looted from the national treasury. However, the figure which exceeds the country’s GDP is being disputed by some news publications as unrealistically high.
There has been a soaring demand for commodities from Africa in recent years, which created a unique opportunity for the continent to plough this windfall into socio-economic development. However, a great portion of the resources that leave Africa’s shores each year is not reflected in government revenue books.
After threats by the U.S. Ambassador, Virginia Palmer to freeze supplying Malawi with medical drugs if the theft of drugs was not stopped, Malawi has started installing CCTV cameras to enable authorities to monitor drug stores
Government sources and critics have warned that corruption and tribalism are weighing down Kenya’s development and the country has become ‘a captured state’
From top Government levels to ordinary citizens, corruption and theft continues to bedevil East Africa’s foremost economy. Even behind bars, prisoners on life sentence collude with guards to conduct reigns of terror on the masses through mobile money transfer fraud and extortion.