The increasing theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta may lead to Nigeria having an "alternative rogue economy" which will want to break away to retain and control the enormous funds accruing to it, a law professor has warned.
Yinka Omorogbe, a Professor of Law at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Abuja stated this on Thursday at the Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government and Public Policy in Lagos.
Delivering the lecture titled; 'God given wealth, man-made poverty and the rule of law in Nigeria," Ms. Omorogbe decried the poor implementation of laws in Nigeria with reference to the crude oil theft in the Niger Delta amongst many other "institutional deficiencies" in the country.
Nigeria is estimated to lose about 100,000 barrels of crude oil daily, estimated at about $3.65 billion per annum to oil thieves which allegedly includes government officials, multinationals, and security agents.
"Only the efficient use of the rule of law will enhance the development of our (Nigeria) resources in all its forms... ..but if not, this will lead to the development of an alternative rogue economy," the don said.
She noted some references in her lecture which claimed that an alternative rogue economy could lead to a group's cessation from the country so as to keep the rogue economy -stolen crude oil trade- and prevent Nigeria's forces to maintain law and order.
She added that such cessation will be accentuated by the local community, which will harness the energy and strength of the youth in such rogue economy to sustain its flow.
Nigeria fought a three-year civil war which led to about 3 million deaths when the Igbo ethnic group sought a separate nation (Biafra) in 1967.
Poster child for resource curse.
Describing Nigeria has a poster child for resource curse, Ms. Omorogbe in her criticism of the federal government's claim of economic development noted that "economic growth and development growth are not the same."
"The nation's recessing economy with enormous resources is an indication of resource curse" Ms. Omorogbe affirmed.
"Nigeria is still a poster child for resource curse in the continent despite increasing flows of foreign direct investment because more money does not equate to greater development as seen in our country with all the enormous funds flowing in, the country is ranked lowest in all development indicators," she stated.
The don said the economic growth indicators being bandied around by the federal government are of no use and "they (government) know that economic indicators are not the same as development indicators and Nigeria is faring worse in the latter."
She called for a respect for the rule of law, warning that "worsening development indicators can lead to ethnic crisis" because "a nation without the rule of law, will be a nation that is impoverishing itself."
She said the "rule of law enables social contract whereby government and people fulfil their part of the law."
Disagreeing with the lecturer on her call for obedience to the rule of law, the sole discussant at the lecture, Bamidele Aturu, criticised and called for reforms in the nation's law making process.
According to Mr. Aturu, who described Nigeria as a rogue state, "social forces must be examined with the creation of laws, because laws made in a rogue state will only perpetuate stealing."
He cited the example of the security vote which by the establishing act, cannot be audited or accounted for.
"We all know that this security vote is not spent on security but looted by the office holders... ... yet Nigeria has become one of the most insecure states despite the security."
He also cited the controversial N255million armoured car bought by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the Minister of Aviation, saying "let's assume such purchase was appropriated in the NCAA's budget, then such a law is accentuating wastage and corruption."
He enjoined Nigerians to demand a more thorough law making process from the National Assembly and state houses of assembly across the country.
"A rogue state will eventually become a failed stated" he warned, adding that "it is our moral tool to not accelerate the rogue state by bringing it down to its knees by moral persuasion."