Nigeria: officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean.
Nigeria’s major source of earning is crude oil and the financial structure of the government is such that all national earnings are managed at the federal level and shared between the three tiers of government: The Federal, The State and the Local government. So every month our 36 state governors’ head to Abuja to get a cheque for monies accrued to the states and their local governments respectively.
The state governors are supposed to use the funds from the federal government as well as internally generated revenues to develop and run their respective states; the level of development in every state cannot go beyond the level of the management competence and integrity of managers in the state, so we have had a situation in Nigeria were money meant for development and creation of opportunities for the people of the state are mismanaged and in most cases out rightly stolen. You might see some work done at the state capitals but a step into other towns and villages outside the capital in all states you will be attacked by such a high level of poverty, lack of opportunities, failed or no infrastructures at all, a crumbled educational setup and a hopeless future for children born in such communities.
Since 1960, over $600 billion in oil revenues has flowed into Nigeria’s coffers; it represents an opportunity unavailable to much of the developing world. These petrodollars could have been spent productively, and could have transformed agriculture, laid the foundation for an effective public education system, provided much-needed infrastructure. Yet, according to the World Bank, of that $600 billion, $300 billion has simply disappeared into overseas bank accounts through theft and corruption. We paid a visit to some of the states in Nigeria and below are what we found out about there budgets on projects and how public funds are looted:
In Bayelsa State, the state of President Goodluck Jonathan, and former governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was convicted and pardoned by the President, the state government planned upgrading of 5 secondary schools to boarding schools, N2B ($12.5M) was budgeted in 2012 and N135M ($850k) in 2010. We paid a visit to Sagbama, Kaiama, Nembe and Ogbia. No Upgrade was done.
Fencing of schools – N200M ($1.3M) in 2012, N200M ($1.3M) in 2011 and N150M ($1M) in 2010. In all schools visited no fencing exists at most you see very old fences like this one.
At Chief Melford Okilo Memorial Hospital – N1.4B ($8.8M) was budget in 2012, N6B ($37.5M) in 2011, N415M ($2.6M) in 2010, N3.5B ($22M) in 2009. The project has been completed but abandoned and non-functional.
Completion of on-going health facilities- N350M ($2.2M) was budgeted in 2012, N986M ($6.2M) in 2011 but no facility was completed in 2012 or 2011.
Construction and renovation of General Hospitals- N1.8B ($12M) was budgeted in 2012 on visit to the general hospital Sagbama, no renovation has taken place- here is a photo
At the General Hospital Ogbia, the facility has stopped being a hospital out of neglect, being rented out as apartment, even though its been budgeted for by the state government.
Fencing and Landscaping of “School-to-Land Authority” Premises – N45m ($280K) was budgeted and nothing was done. The facility is currently abandoned.
Bayelsa State Rice Training and Seed Multiplication center – N150M ($1M) was budgeted, site is abandoned and no work done.
Construction of veterinary clinic and provision of equipment at Edepie – N100M ($625K) was budget in 2012, N60m ($375K) in 2010, and N100M ($625k) in 2009. No construction done at all.
Construction and Development of storage facilities of aquaculture center at Edepie – N300M ($1.9M) was budgeted in 2012 at the project site no construction was done.
Home Economics Center at St. Jude Girls Secondary school Amarata – N11.7M ($73K) was budgeted in 2012, but the existing facility no longer exists as the dilapidated infrastructure has been taken over by the police: see photo below:
Construction of 3 Senatorial Model Secondary Schools in Nembe, Sagbama & Yenagoa; N2billion ($12.5M) was budgeted in 2012; N1.4billion ($8.75M) in 2011; N2billion ($12.5M) in 2010
At Yenago site of project, 80% completion recorded, but was being used as a flood relief camp when we visited.
In Sagbama, the site was covered by flood, but community said no work had begun.
At Nembe site work was just 10 percent, but had since stopped. Nothing was done in 2012
Medical equipment for health centres: N300million ($1.9M) was budgeted. At Kaiama Comprehensive Health Center, last supply was 2010
Medical equipment for health centres: N300million ($1.9M) was budgeted. At Sagbama Comprehensive Health Center, last supply was 2010
Medical equipment for health centres: N300million ($1.9M) Comprehensive Heath Nembe. No supply was made.
Medical equipment for health centres: N300m ($1.9M). Comprehensive Health Centre Ogbia. No supply. When we visited, no beds in place.
In the same year these projects were not implemented, Bayelsa State government got N115.7billion ($724M) from the Federation Account.
Bayelsa State has a population of 1.7million, the lowest in Nigeria, 8 LGAs, also the lowest, but it got the 6th largest allocation in 2012.
This is the reason why this state is not like Dubai today. One will naturally think that a combination of low population and high revenue will produce development. But not in Bayelsa State. The last Nigerian Living Standards Survey said that more than 90 percent of Bayelsans are still poor.
World Bank Doing business report 2010 said Bayelsa is most difficult place to start a business in Nigeria due to bureaucratic harassments. The state depends entirely on oil revenue and has lower than 2 percent of internally generated revenue.
Until recently government officials created a leaking pipe for 11,132 “Ghost Workers” who withdrew salaries from government coffers showing corruption might have been elevated to state policy.
UNDP Niger Delta Development Report says that the State has the lowest index in the whole of the Niger Delta. The UNDP report showed that more that 86 percent of Bayelsans depend on kerosene for lightening up their lamps as their only source of light.
The UNDP Report also shows that only 8 percent of Bayelsans have access to pipe borne water. In 2007, only 434 Bayelsans got admission into universities, compared to its neighboring state Rivers State which had 1500. Take a look at the sources of revenue for bayelsa 2012 budget!
Bayelsa has arguably the largest recurrent expenditure profile in Nigeria. In 2010 it was 64% and 2011 it was 58%.
Reports indicate that Bayelsa State has a debt liability of N167.1billion and is only second to Lagos State in Nigeria’s debt burden. As at 2012 ending, Bayelsa state owed external debt of $28billion (I don’t know how else to enslave a generation – so sad).
2012 Security Vote for the Bayelsa State Governor was N3billion ($18.8M) – Higher than funds to Social Development, Rural Development, Water Supply and Industry, combined! (The security vote is an amount allocated to all the state governors by the president for them to secure themselves and the governors are not required to account for it).
When some intelligent activists come on television accusing the federal government of not developing the oil producing communities, its laughable because the first question should first go to the state governors, but they can’t point fingers at the governors at that local level because they will take you out so easily and the police will do nothing about it.
To put more money into the hands of these governors under this current arrangement and government structure is like pouring water into a leaking basket.
Corruption in Nigeria is not by chance. It is a deliberate well thought out scheme by public officers, a machinery that is in motion against its people that is why the President recently advised all opposition politicians to join his party the PDP so that there will be no opposition to this strategy of ruins. Recently the governor of Bayelsa state constituted a committee against rumor mongers – This is what his priorities are, when governors like him all around the world have conquered space and building paradise on earth, his government is inaugurating committees on rumor mongering.
In Delta State, the state of the former James Ibori, the ex governor currently in jail in the UK who handed over to his relative Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan: this was our observation.
Going through a chronicle of the state budget and actual work done, we observed the following – Reactivation of Aviara Fish Farm. Was allocated N10m ($62.5k) in 2012; N90.9m ($568k) in 2011 No work was done. Project lies abandoned.
Renovation of Ika Grammar School Boji Boji, Owa. Got N3.7million ($21.9k) in 2012 as budget and N5million ($31k) in 2011. Nothing was done
Agbor Fish Hatching- N2.5m ($15.6K) in 2012 and N2.6m ($16.25k) in 2011. No work was done, not a single fish was seen.
Renovation and Equipping of Owhelegbo Grammer Sch, Isoko North. N35m ($218k) in 2010 & N2m ($12.5k) 2011. Project was not implemented.
Fencing of Ndemili Cottage Hospital N5.4million ($34k) allocated in 2011. On visit we saw this old collapsing fence and gate.
Rehabilitation of Primary Health Centre Umuaja N10million ($62.5k) in 2011 & N28million ($175k) in 2010. No work done
Renovation and Fencing of Nshiagu College, Ugwashi-Ukwu. N22m in 2011 and N35million (138k) in 2010. No work done
Construction of Examination Hall, Akwukwu-Igbo Grammar School. N8m ($50k) in 2011 & N15m ($94K) in 2010. Building already collapsing
In 2012, Delta Governor presented a budget of N383.3b ($2.4B) to the Assembly; they added another N54b ($337.5M) for no reason saying budget was not enough.
In the 2012 Education budget of Delta state, 66.8% of projects allocated funds had already been allocated funds in previous budgets years.
In the 2012 Delta state budget for health out of 254 projects, only 13 are new. The rest have been receiving funds in previous years!
Internally generated fund in Delta State is negligible. Delta is the most secretive state in the Niger Delta. They never made budgets available on their website, and when we asked for it at the ministry, we got criminal treatment, first question they ask is “What do you want it for?” “Who sent you?” Very scary! After all these wastage and looting, the Debt Management Office declared on its website that Delta State owes external debts to the tone of $18.9million.
The minister for information in Nigeria recently carried our a good governance tour we they celebrated mediocrity all through: Citizens’ report is what we need in Nigeria not governance tour.
In Akwa-Ibom State, the richest oil producing state in Nigeria, and the state that prides itself with the slogan “uncommon transformation” – this was our discovery.
In 2012, Akwa-Ibom budgeted N2.4 billion ($15M) for an Ibom Science Park; in 2011 they budgeted N2billion ($12.5M); in 2010 – N2.5billion ($15.7M) – That science park lies long abandoned in a thick bush in Uyo. No money was expended in 4 Years.
In 2012, Akwa Ibom state budgets N200m ($1.25M) to transport school kids. In 2011 – N200m ($1.25M); 2010 – N195m ($1.2M). Not a single bus was purchased.
The 2012 budget provides for school feeding – N40m ($250k) in 2011 and N300M ($1.9M) in 2010. Not one spoon of food has ever been given to the pupils or secondary school students of Akwa-Ibom State.
Akwa-Ibom Budgets for free exercise books for school. N1billion ($6.25M) in 2010 and N500m ($3.2M) in 2011. Not one was printed.
Building a Model Sec. School at Ekparakwa: N1b ($6.25M) was budgeted in 2011; N500m ($3.2M) in 2010. This Project was long accomplished by the previous administration of Victor Attah but abandoned in a forest. Nothing has been happening there in 4yrs.This school for physically challenged was allocated N60million ($375k) in 2012. Nothing was done.
This skills acquisition centre in Abak – the government said it was renovated with N300million ($1.9M). Nothing was done 80% of budgeted projects in Akwa Ibom are never executed, a legacy of wastage all round the country. Akwa Ibom is one of the states that don’t have its budget online, not even the governor’s budget speech – Very secretive.
In 2012 Akwa Ibom state government passed perhaps the largest supplementary budget for a state. N125b, ($782B) bringing its 2012 budget to a total of N522b ($3.3B).Much higher than a lot of countries in Africa.
Poverty has so stricken the people that the basis of evaluating performances of leaders is not based on a well thought out vision for the state and a strategic plan of reaching those goals but leaders a praised based on some infrastructures here and some there while the bulk of the funds are looted.
This is the phenomenon all over the country, the debt management office of Nigeria released on its website the level of indebtedness by the country, all the 36 states, the federal capital Abuja and the federal government are all owing huge amounts that the next generation would have to cope with:
External debts alone, as at dec 2012 are as follows. Mind you, domestic debts are far higher, and more secret Kano owes $61.7million
Katsina owes $74.6million
Akwa Ibom owes $61.6 million
Cross River owes $113million
Kebbi owes $47.8million
Kogi owes $33.8million
Imo owes $51.9million
Kwara owes $45.5million
Lagos owes $611.2 million
Nassarawa owes $36.9 million
Kaduna owes $215.6million
Niger owes $29.7million
Anambra owes $26.7million
Ogun state owes $102million
Ondo owes $51.8 million
Osun owes $62.7million
Oyo owes $76.6million
Plateau owes $21.9million
Rivers owes $36.6million
Jigawa owes $33.6million
Gombe owes $31.7million
Enugu owes $50million
Delta owes $18.9million
Ekiti owes $36.1million
Edo owes $42.7 million
Ebonyi owes $41.5million
Bayelsa owes $28million
Bornu owes $24.1million
Benue owes 28.4million
Bauchi owes $67.1million
Adamawa owes $30.2million
Abia state owes $35.9 million
At the subsidy protest of January 2012 one of our great musicians Femi Kuti made a comment that when he was a little boy, it was still these same problems of corruption and lack of accountability that his father the Legendary Fela Kuti fought and sang about, he is fifty years old and its still the same story. The British bequeathed to us a system that worked and was sustainable through hard work and production, the military came and destroyed it and today governance has been reduced to mere transactions.
This blatant display of corruption by the ruling elite has become a culture in Nigeria, even as we speak – the PDP stalwarts, governors and public officers have started looting seriously in preparation for a violent contest of the 2015 elections; a period when militants are paid as oil barons to stake there lives for a corrupt politician; no decent and intelligent person can participate or function in such a political terrain, this is the reason the system brings up a lot of political rascals.
The reason for Bokoharam or the Militants of the Niger Delta today is not totally because they are fighting to make the government and society saner, its simply because the sponsor that arm these youths think those in government have stolen so much and its their turn to administer the treasury and get their share of the spoils of government; the militants and terrorists are just tools of violence owned and used by the political elite to negotiate with the government in power.
Some call for amnesty for the militants, some are calling for amnesty for the terrorist organization killing innocent Nigerians daily for no reasons, some are calling for the international community to label Bokoharam a terrorist organization – truth is they are all one and the same category of elites, the only difference is that some are in power and some are fighting to get into power for the same purpose, because the institutions are broken and they like it that way, to get what you want through violence.
It’s almost impossible for the average Nigerian people to fight them, because they feed into the poverty that they have created in the system. It’s called divide and rule –when some Nigerians come out to genuinely condemn these atrocities, the politicians out of the much that they have stolen would dangle some money to the poorest and least credible persons in our midst and Nigerians start fighting themselves under the façade of tribe and religion.
This fraternity of politicians is on the verge of converting our entertainment industry (The Pride of Nigerians, born out of the resilience of the average Nigerian) into mere campaign tool, even when Nollywood decides to stand up against misrule and a government that does nothing while our brothers and sister are slaughtered everyday by terrorists; the president donates some money to the association and those without integrity in Nollywood would end up betraying the whole vision. The president will not come out to set up a lasting structure that would enable the industry thrive and acquire technologies to compete with the best movie industries in the world. He prefers Divide and Rule.
Today there is so much violence in the air, the political elite of this era blossom in an environment of violence and intimidation and not on the intellectual desk, as such they have succeeded in breaking down the police institution to become nothing more than their era boys, justice in the judiciary goes to the most powerful in government or to the highest bidder, and the law makers are about the most ridiculous, General Obasanjo referred to them as an assembly of criminals: a house were a lawmaker caught on video taking bribe of $620k to subvert a probe is still making laws for 160 million Nigerian, a senate where someone indicted of being a sponsor of Boko Haram is still making laws. A house that creates routes for escape for corrupt public criminals while the ordinary Nigerian that goes astray out of needs is meant to rot in jail.
All the corrupt governors that have plundered the states are let go by a law that allows them to remit just a pinch of their loot, just one man raked all the pension meant for our retired senior citizens to the tone of N23Billion ($145M) and he is given just a slap on the wrist, a two years imprisonment or and option of N750k ($4,700). A generation of lawmakers who make laws not to build a nation but for their convenience incase they are caught by the security they will have a way out, with these gang of lawmakers there is absolutely no consequence for bad behavior. No nation can move forward this way, I write this article not to attack anybody but out of a strong desire for change.
The normal Nigerian residing in the north or south is a happy, peace loving and industrious person, always filled with hope in the midst of so many economic attacks; we love our country and want to see the institutions work. Protesting on the streets has not yet worked instead we loose our brothers and sisters through trigger happy policemen serving the elite and military intimidation. In other to keep the peace and not beating drums of war like the politicians we resolve to wait till we get a chance to change the leaders through the ballot box, that’s if these same elites controlling the party politics for now want change and if the electoral body is not arm twisted, even though the politicians are still going to sponsor violence because with the system today, the most violent wins.
This change the average Nigerian seeks could be quicker if the world decides to stand by the people of Nigeria and not the looters of public wealth. Its total betrayal of the moral values governments of developed countries preach when bankers in the UK, USA, China, Switzerland, Dubai and even South Africa help Nigerian government criminals keep this stolen money.
As a leader in a developed society to keep quiet means you are not different in quality from theses present criminal politicians suffocating the poor in Nigeria. These politicians are not different from the likes of Mobutu, Ghadafi and Idi Amin, the only different is that they are many in Nigeria and they take there turns every four years and they have created a system that protects them. It is morally right to ask why a politician should be moving some incredible amounts of money all over the world when he doesn’t have a factory anywhere to generate such; if he claims it’s his salary as a politician, what gives him the right to pay himself that much in a country of so many poor people.
The moral thing to do is to freeze the funds of Nigerian politicians (past and present) and retired generals amass abroad through their accounts or anyone they use to move huge amounts of money around for the next two years which would be after the 2015 elections so that the country can go through a period of self healing until the world and Nigerians regain confidence in our institutions and government becomes transparent and accountable and our press is free to report what happens all over the country without having fear for their lives; if these corrupt politicians are no longer celebrated, encouraged and accommodated by the western governments and their banks, Nigerians at home can have the hope to start a revival at home knowing that they have the support of the world.
Nigerians do not advocate for war or drones or riots but a fair opportunity to renegotiate the destiny of the country out of the hands of political bandits in all the political parties that are beneficiaries of this broken system they created and have been enjoying since the 1970’s till today.
I call on President @BarackObama to take this honorable step for the sake of the poor Nigerians living in Nigeria. We are praying hard, Christians and Muslims – that this political travesty created by the military and sustained by today’s’ elite which the retired generals spearhead would come to an end, and we know it will in a short while because Nigeria is so relevant to God in this age – but as the President of the greatest nation on earth being of African decent who knows why you are there at such a time as this.
Read full article in Jonas Enebeli blogspot
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.