“Until we ask questions of men and women who live above their means, in and out of office, the youths of this beleaguered country would continue to seek avenues of easy wealth…”
Just last week, my younger cousin’s wife was snatched with her three little children by kidnappers around Irete in Imo State. And for nine harrowing days, mother and kids were held in captivity until hefty sums were paid as ransom.
This is just one case out of the several benumbing horrific tales of cult-related crimes, often bordering on rituals and fetish, kidnapping or armed banditry among our youths, all geared towards acquiring wealth and power.
Unfortunately, we would be too hasty to blame these youths who take to sundry crimes without taking a dose of the blame as well. Victims of such heists or even apprehended culprits reveal that most of them become deviant in absence of better viable options. The economy has collapsed and President Muhammmadu Buhari has even recently confirmed the pariah status of a once upon a time giant of Africa.
Over the years, a country that was once flaunted as being too rich it did not know what to do with its wealth has been looted and stripped bare. Thousands of fresh graduates join the several hundreds of thousands languishing on the unemployment holocaust. Meanwhile, politicians and their offspring flaunt their ill gotten wealth so brazenly the youths feel that hard work no longer pays, hence the recourse to crime.
Ever wondered why kidnapping for ransom thrives? People find it easy to make cool millions just by snatching away others in the hope that they get paid ransom? Are they making it? Of course; even foetuses are sold in the womb, even as babies are snatched from their mothers’ breasts like handbags and sold to the childless or in bizarre scenarios for rituals by devilry goons trusting in wealth from evil spirits. The society has become degenerative; the old and young are equally victims and in most cases huge ransoms are paid before suspiciously collaborative police come up with their hogwash as regards their chivalrous acts of rescue.
We have all been critical of the Buhari administration, as if it introduced hardship. Even the Buhari administration has remained obsessed with the inept and kleptomaniac government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, as if it midwifed corruption. The truth, however, is that right from the General Yakubu Gowon administration and the one preceding it; Nigeria missed the road to paradise.
If Gowon had been creative or foresighted, instead of reportedly saying Nigeria did not know what to do with its enormous wealth and chose to fritter it away, he probably would have been offering less prayer for Nigeria today or, at best, would have been praying for more important things than mundane food, shelter and clothing. We can go on and on through the era of military profligacy that destroyed vestiges of all that Nigeria held sacred, when Nigeria was deconstructed, resulting in most Nigerians now clamouring for a return to the old order or any form of restructuring for that matter; unfortunately, it is being resisted by a few for selfish gains.
We must all rise in support of President Buhari’s anti-corruption war because for us, corruption has become a lifestyle and we must wean our future from its destructive potentials. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, should go all out to recover all looted funds, from whomever, to the last kobo and make corruption so detestable nobody would see it as option to hard work in future.
When a level six civil servant boasts of millions in his bank account, what is the source? When a police chief or army brass acquires real estate at home or offshore beyond his income, explanations must be made. When a former or serving minister’s son splashes millions on expensive jewelry or automobile, it is time he explained how come or better still let his father do the explaining. When a parliamentarian begins to pad allocations to his advantage and yet claims he is beyond reproach because budgeting is nothing but padding, questions must be asked. When people whose status was known when they enter office but suddenly come out rolling in inexplicable wealth, there is need to seek answers. When your school dropout nephew wangles his way to Malaysia and soon returns home with enough cash to buy up the entire village, you should be concerned and ask him what business he did that minted so much within so short a time instead of the unbridled celebration that light had come to your homestead at last. When that your undergraduate or unemployed son or daughter swims home with wealth, don’t hesitate to question him on the source or invite the law on him to do that instead of heading to church for a thanksgiving for ‘divine breakthrough’, which may turn around to haunt you forever. It would be helpful if we formed ourselves into what I choose to call neighbourhood police by which we would be a check on one another and blow the whistle on that next door neighbor, who suddenly becomes rich without any visible means of income.
This country should be tired of emergency billionaires, who use spray guns to rain both local and foreign currencies on party goers without undue explanations. That is how corruption is fought in saner climes. Fighting corruption is so easy if the anti-corruption agencies put their minds to it. For the EFCC to ignore to do the needful, hiding behind the lame excuse of not being petitioned is unacceptable and portrays the anti-corruption war as a mere joke.
Until we ask questions of men and women who live above their means, in and out of office, the youths of this beleaguered country would continue to seek avenues of easy wealth, if only to be like the Joneses and avoid being derided as never-do-wells by peers and parents alike. This responsibility is the major thrust of the anti-corruption agencies. There is no surer and faster way to destroy our future generations than to allow the corrosion of exhibitionist vulgar wealth to ensnare the mindset of our youth.
My cousin’s offence was choosing the noble path to struggle for a living like every decent young man should. The cries of the innocent children and their hapless mother assailed the Heavens and surely, God heard and soon His wrath shall be poured out in full against these sons of darkness. Darkness and confusion shall beset them until they walk into the vicious arms of the law according Exodus 26:16.
I have no doubt, however, that the Lord will restore whatever my cousin lost to the locusts and cankerworms but death stands at their door unless they turn a new leaf.
Yes, the compass pointing us to paradise was broken by the wind of inept leadership. Nevertheless the government can take us back to the road to paradise if it has the will instead of this sissy rigmarole in dark alleys of theatrical politricks and occasional tragicomic bursts of (in)activity.