FEATURE ARTICLE

SWednesday, September 13, 2023
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SIN IS A REPROACH TO ANY PEOPLE, THE KILLINGS ARE CONTINUING

read in the past week, two clips in which some people were being described as "strategists." Ostensibly, this was because they were seen to have achieved their objectives. It did not matter to their admirers that their heroes allegedly cheated, engaged in various types of corruption, stealing and illegalities to accomplish their goals. A crime is a crime irrespective of who commits it and what is achieved. If this is the best that we can do as a nation, it is pitiable that our country has descended into a new low.

Yes, a crime is a crime and should attract its punishment irrespective of who commits it. Please consider this statement in the light of the following events:

" The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the head of the global Anglican community, was convicted of speeding and ordered to pay 510 for exceeding a 20 mile per hour limit near Lambeth Palace, his official residence, on 2 October 2022.

Reference: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby given speeding fine - BBC News

" Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was filmed without a seatbelt in a moving car. Lancashire Police were "looking into" Rishi Sunak after he was filmed not wearing a seat belt while a passenger in a moving car. January 20, 2023. The prime minister apologised for the incident, saying it was an "error of judgement" to take his seat belt off to film a social media clip. Not wearing one carries a maximum 500 fine.

Mr Sunak "fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises", his spokesman told reporters. He added the PM "believes everyone should wear a seat belt".

He added: "of course" Mr Sunak did not believe anyone was above the law.

Reference: Rishi Sunak's failure to wear seat belt to be investigated - BBC News

" Mr. Boris Johnson resigned as the UK Prime Minister on September 5, 2022, after more than three years in office marked by Brexit, Covid-19, and partygate scandals. He also stepped down as an MP on June 9, 2023. This was under four years since he led the Conservative party to an 80-seat majority - their best result in 30 years.

Reference: On what date did Prime Minister Boris Johnson resign? - Search (bing.com)

Comments: These three examples, and there are more, underscore the fact that anyone who commits a crime should answer for it. This is democracy laced with justice and the fair application of the law to everyone. Justice is supposed to be blind in the sense that it is of universal applicability irrespective of the persons involved. Our country, Nigeria, is supposed to be a democracy, or are we?

Moreover, our children and the future generations are watching and learning. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." In order to build a progressive and safe country, we need to exercise the courage of our conviction to reject corruption, cheatings and stealing, and embrace whatever is lovely, constructive, honourable, just, pure, and commendable. This underlines the justification for citing these examples of the correct practice of justice in the UK since we fail to practise justice and fairness to all in our country. For some people, we sweep their crimes under the carpet, and for some others, we punish. On a serious and worrying note, it is doubtful whether some of our politicians and leaders will survive where justice, fairness and rule of law are practised. It appears that some want to perpetuate the system of corruption and lawlessness which holds sway in our country. Invariably, they resist any movement to change their system or show them the way out for the good of the country. They blossom in their questionable practices in the corrupt environment while teeming population of Nigerians, in millions, live and die in abject poverty and squalor.

It is inevitable that what we sow, we shall reap. If we sow the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind, which is devastating. We are already harvesting the destructive consequences of our sins of corruption, cheating, lying and lack of equity and justice for all, which are the crops that we have been sowing. This paper touches on some of our destructive harvests and other relevant points. The harvests and issues to discuss comprise the following.

" The killings are continuing.

" A nation with the richest and poorest people

" A nation in economic and industrial retrogression

" Refinery maintenance problem

" Conclusion

The Killings are continuing

Since 2015, the rate of cold blooded killings of innocent Nigerians has been unprecedented in our peace-time history as a country. A few examples of the recent killings are as follows.

Armed bandits attacked and burned down the Fadan Kamatan Parish house in Kafanchan, Kaduna State.

Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. John Hayab, confirmed the occurrence adding that two priests allegedly escaped, but seminarian Naam Danladi was killed in the fire on Thursday, 7th September.

Reference: Armed bandits burn Catholic Parish house in Kaduna - Trending News (tvcnews.tv)

Seven worshippers killed by gunmen in a mosque in Ikara Local Government Area, Kaduna State

Seven worshippers were killed while two others injured were taken to the hospital. This attack on a mosque by a gang of armed men in Nigeria's northwest Kaduna state, in the remote Saya village of the Ikara local government area, occurred late on Friday, September 1st, as worshippers gathered for prayer. This is sad and wicked.

Reference: 7 worshippers killed by gunmen in Nigeria - News | Khaleej Times

Bandits kill thirty three persons, burn houses in fresh attack on Southern Kaduna

At least thirty three persons were reportedly killed by armed bandits in Runji Village, Zango Kataf local government area of Kaduna state. It was reported that eye witnesses stated that the assailants who stormed the village at about 9:30 PM on Saturday, September 2, were heavily armed and were many. Among those killed were little children below the ages of 12 and 15. More than a dozen of the slain victims were set ablaze in their houses and at least seven houses were burnt.

Reference: Bandits kill thirty three persons, burn houses in fresh attack on Southern Kaduna - Trending News (tvcnews.tv)

Gunmen behead Divisional Police Officer in the Rivers State

Gunmen on Friday, 8th September, beheaded Bako Angbashim, the divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of Ahoada in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. The DPO was said to have fought gallantly against the gunmen while his colleagues retreated as they ran out of ammunition. We salute this gallant Nigerian and others like him who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of the nation.

Reference: Gunmen behead Divisional Police Officer in South-south Nigeria (premiumtimesng.com)

Comments: There were other killings which are not reported here. The obnoxious truth is that if a research on the number of killings is carried out each month, large volume of scripts will be published. These are revealing of some of our failings as a nation.

Why should a church building be burnt? Is this not indicative of the refusal to accept that others have a right to worship as they choose? The Muslim-Muslim Presidency does not help the cause of religious tolerance.

" A Nation with the Richest and Poorest People

I published an article containing the excerpts quoted below some months ago. I am repeating a part of it here verbatim because its contents are still valid.

Quote

Nigeria is the richest country in Africa in 2022, with a GDP of $510.58 billion followed by Egypt with a GDP of $435.62 billion (Reference: https://countrycassette.com/african-countries-by-gdp-2022)

Nigerian senators are about the highest paid in the world with allegedly over a monthly income of N13.5 million.

The country is reportedly the poverty capital of the world with 82 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty, which is about 42.4 percent of Nigeria's population, (Reference: https://peopleconcernint.org)

These two statements appear so incompatible, contradictory, and mutually exclusive that they should not be used to describe the same nation but sadly, they are true for our country, Nigeria.

For many years, there has been such a colossal gap between the wealth and lifestyles of the very rich and those of the ordinary Nigerian. Some of these super rich Nigerians made their wealth in questionable ways which no loving parents can encourage their children to emulate. Wealth at all costs, now it is political power at all costs to the utter neglect of the wellbeing of millions of our people, both now and in the future.

A nation built on the quicksand of theft, corruption and dubious practices cannot progress and advance as well governed and developed nations are doing. Rather, it will remain staggering from one crisis to the other and being decimated by the debts contracted by rulers who, to all intents and purposes, have their private agenda and not the equitable development of the nation and the safety of all its various citizens.

Unquote

Reference: Nigeria Needs A Role Model, A Servant Leader, To Salvage The Country From Institutionalised And Structured Corruption & Exploitation (thenigerianvoice.com)

A Nation in Economic and Industrial Retrogression

On Wednesday, August 23, India became the first nation to land on the South Pole of the Moon and the fourth nation to land on the Moon behind Russia, United States, and China. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was overjoyed as he announced this to the world. As I looked at the scientists rejoicing and clapping hands, shown on the clip, I noticed that I became misty-eyed. It happened unconsciously. I am a Nigerian and could not but think of the rich resources of Nigeria. I became sad because we have scientists and different professionals in science and technology who are scattered all over the world. I am not talking of going to the moon as much as being free to come home, as often as necessary, to make contributions to solve and facilitate the economic development of the nation.

As a result of our sins, we face such hindrances and deterrents as killings and insecurity, political instability, lack of patriotism and absence of personal integrity. There is the current verbal tussle between our former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the current government on the maintenance of refineries.

Before addressing the issue, I would suggest that it should be highly inconceivable that there could be no funds budgeted for the servicing of the refineries regularly. Assuming that funds are budgeted, then why are the refineries not working?

Getting the refineries working should not be beyond the competence of our engineers. Therefore, it should not be a ground-breaking achievement, if by December, they will be working. However, for how long? Keeping them working as they are designed is the crux of the matter. Sustainability is the critical success factor. If they work for six months and break down again and remain so, we are back to where we started from. Refineries and such large process plants are planned and designed to work for some years supported in operation with breakdown repairs and scheduled maintenance. It should not be the case of breaking down and cannot be repaired for months on end.

To achieve sustainable operations, there should be a developed and maintained operations and engineering management system which consists of trained and available operations and maintenance engineers and staff, accessible and assured supply of spares and other operations and production resources.

Sadly, the current public service structure and practice in our country cannot provide this system. We do not have the discipline. This is why the suggestion of a privatised service by our former president, Chief Obasanjo is correct and hits the bull's eye. The privatised service will be controlled and directed by board of directors who are employed and answerable to shareholders.

The directors and top management executives will not be appointed by, or answerable to, bosses in the ministry who make demands that have to be met. Demands that interfere with the integrity of operations and financial health of the refineries.

Please permit me to refer to a book published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York in June 2020. Its title is "Achieving Successful and Sustainable Project Delivery in Africa" It discusses some failed projects and project deliverables in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. For example, it examines the topic: "Nigeria is the largest importer of petrol because of non-functional Refineries." Some other topics include:

" Problems of Corruption, Zero Productivity and Poor Return on Investment,

" Failed Governance, Majorly contributory to Failed Projects in Africa.

In Section 4, it suggests a framework for Successful Management of Projects, Programmes and Portfolios.

Conclusion

Now as never before, we are becoming a nation built on the quicksand of theft, corruption and dubious practices such that we cannot progress and develop as well governed and developed nations are doing. Rather, we shall remain staggering from one crisis to the other and our country being destroyed by rulers who have as their priorities their private agenda and not the equitable, fair and just development of the nation and the safety of all its various citizens.

I pray that we realise that we are pressing the self-destruct button by living this way. For as long as cheatings, stealing, and corruption remain the silver bullet for "success" in this country, so long will our sufferings, especially the sufferings of our teeming population, remain. May the Lord grant us the wisdom to choose to repent, tread in the paths of righteousness so that we can start building a country that is just and fair. "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people."

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