One of the reasons corruption continues to thrive in Nigeria is that we have very few precedents to deter others from joining in. For a country with as many incidences of corruption we have an abysmally low record of convicting and punishing persons who engage in corruption. This lack of precedents make it difficult for the Nigerian state to achieve its desired growth and development. This is especially disappointing when the corruption involves something as ubiquitous as Ramadan.
In 2017, some government officials were accused of diverting 200 tonnes of dates donated to Nigerian Muslims by the Saudi Arabia government. These dates were meant to be given freely to selected Muslim groups in Mosques, IDP camps and other selected individuals. However, these dates were diverted and taken to the market for sale. This act of impunity was exposed by the media, it generated an uproar and the Federal government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promised to look into it. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Abba Ibrahim ‘this is not the spirit in which the 200 tonnes of dates was given, the matter will be investigated to avoid a repeat in the future’.
One year after, none of the officials involved have been arrested nor prosecuted. The statement released by the Ministry of Foreign affairs was the only and last statement released by the government on the issue. Sure the government might not care about its reputation, but thousands of disadvantaged people didn’t get the Ramadan aid they needed, and government officials got rich off illegal aid. The Republic of Saudi Arabia cares where the aid it gave went, and it will most likely not give aid to a country where it isn’t sure that it wont be siphoned by Muslim officials who should know better. The Saudi Arabia government was apologized to in 2017 for the aid fiasco, but it will do more than an apology to correct the battered image of Nigeria.