Thursday, December 07, 2006

NIgeria: Oil wealth not trickling down

Long blog report about Nigeria..

Open the news pages of Nigerian dailies or world news about Nigeria, only very few things would make one smile. Beautiful and handsome but sad faces roam the streets. Unemployment rate may run as high as 70 percent and very high inflation rate makes the case worse. There are conflicting reports on the value of income accruing to the nation that was stashed away in foreign banks by Nigerian leaders. President Obasanjo was quoted in 2002 as putting the total amount of money stolen by African leaders at $104 billion. In an article published by BusinessDay, written by Wale Haastrup the total amount looted by Nigerian leaders was put at $20 trillion. The chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu was quoted by BBC as putting the loot by Nigerian leaders since independence at over $380 billion. It is not certain the value of Nigerian leaders’ loot, but one thing that is obvious is that it is enormous.

High number of elected and government officials seem to be misappropriating and siphoning money. Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan, the Accountant- General of Nigeria at the National 5th Seminar on Economic and Financial Crimes spoke on how public servants loot the treasury. Widespread poverty accounts for the bourgeoning rate of crime in the country, which is being exported overseas through Internet or mail scams, popularly known as 419. Desperate Nigerians are finding their way abroad where they are engaged in criminal or illegal activities such as prostitution, fraud, drug and human trafficking.
The Mercury( a South African daily ) November 30, 2006 online issue, carried tears-causing article titled “Italian streets offer no joy, hope for Nigerian women”. The article dealt on the sympathetic plight of Nigerian prostitutes in Italy, who face crushing debt, insults, rape, robbery, and battery. They are reportedly shivery and cold, soliciting customers under extremely cold temperatures and constitute over half the Italian prostitute population.

Most of Nigeria’s earnings are salted away to foreign lands and the people suffer and cry but are held down under one Nigeria...."

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