By Obinna Chukwuezie
When someone is appointed or elected to a public position, such positions gives one an access to state funds-funds meant for public good, not for the occupier of that position. However, no sooner the office holder settles in than they realise that they will not be there forever, and they were only “invited to come and chop.” Now, they begin to craft avenues to pilfer or loot the funds at their disposal while it lasts. As soon as they leave position, citizens begin to hear that the resources have disappeared in thin air. “The goat has eaten the yam in his custody.” Another comes, cycle is repeated, in such a manner to out-compete the previous.
The successor cries that the previous left empty treasury, but eventually leaves empty treasury to his/her successor. It seems that state funds are not for keeps, not for development, but to be looted by those who have access to it. Public positions have become avenues to privatise public funds, that is why the level of desperation to get acess has reached crescendo.
When they get into positions, they buffet our ear drums with “empty treasury”, but the same empty treasury miraculously fills their ubiquitous storage devices and runs over. It seems that our funds are in bottomless pit, they loot, it replenishes, they loot again, and its never empty such that a new entrant will have someting to part with.
They keep devising new storage facilities, no longer bank or using fronts. It’s non-conventional pattern of using water tanks, farms, dug in the ground, building unihabited apartments in big cities in Nigeria and different parts of the world. When it comes to newer ways of safe-keeping loot, they don’t run out of ideas.
A nation in looting spree. A nation that leaving empty treasury is her stock-in-trade. A nation that regards you as a deviant when you change the pattern. A nation that is not poor, but poorly managed leaving majority of her citizens in penury and impoverished.
In looting, there is no religion. In looting, there is no ethnic difference. In looting, there is no gender disparity. In looting, there is no discrimination. State funds is an incredible unifing factor. It looks like if you did not loot, you won’t go to heaven, so everyone strives to go to “heaven.”
Here, the only English word to describe the huge funds which individuals plunder is “loot”, if you use “steal”, it does not capture the magnitude of what went wrong. What is looted, is some country’s national budget. What is looted can feed the estimated 180 million Nigerians daily. What is looted, means that the third and fourth generation is out of poverty.
What is looted, denied good roads to many Nigerians leading to high death rates daily, high cost of transporting foods from farms to markets. What is looted, denies good hospital to Nigerians, leading to high deaths. What is looted denies portable water to Nigerians who die daily due to water borne diseases.
With what is looted, they get accolades in religious circles, get traditional recognitions, they get academic honours, and sadly, they get freed by the courts. Here, looting is lucrative. It’s very lucrative to loot, it comes with no deterrent. No funds is immuned to looting, even funds meant to protect us from Boko Haram are looted. Even recovered loots are looted. The idea is loot whatever your eyes can loot. The system encourages one to loot, and many would-be looters are striving to gain acdcess to state funds, not to save, not for development, but to loot. This is how Nigerians underdevelope Nigeria! The greatest enemy of Nigeria is the looters.
Chukwuezie is the Editor-in-Chief for communitystories.ng
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