12 August 2018

Nigeria: Buhari, Please Take Heed Before You Share $322m Abacha Loot


Chairman Mao, the famous Chinese leader, once advised leaders to always take heed at the point of taking any crucial decision.

I want to plead with President Buhari to take heed and think deeply once again if sharing the returned $322 million dollars is the best option.

There is no rationality in the sharing of N5,000.00 to some selected vulnerable household in Nigeria. Let me indulge you a bit into what constitutes poverty for an average vulnerable household in Nigeria. A typical poor and vulnerable household in Nigeria has zero access to medical care, when the the winds of sickness blows in their direction, they are caught helpless.

A typical poor and vulnerable household finds it hard to eat 3 square meals per day - or even two. Their poor peasant earnings can hardly make available good balanced diet.

Their kids have no access to good education and their shelter can barely cover their heads, because it's a mere shield against rainfall. These are some of the challenges an average vulnerable home encounters daily. The cloud over most vulnerable family is dark, thick dark cloud of poverty pervades most homes.

To remove the thick dark cloud of poverty requires a serious holistic approach; and sharing of N5, 000.00 to each household monthly can never make any difference. More so, the money can only last for a moment. Time often develops wings and they will soon be back to their deep misery, arising from intense vulnerability.

What can easily solve the economic vulnerability of most households is a prosperous environment where both the literate and illiterate class of the society can turn their dreams into reality. Nigerians across all divides are men and women of dreams and an enabling environment is all that is needed.

Even though the World Bank and a host of other international organizations already signed a sharing pact of that returned funds, I still believe the pact can be revisited as a sovereign nation and a new agenda proposed for the utilization of the funds.

We must not forget the fact that our country is in serious deficit of infrastructural developments, health care and a comatose education system, amidst dwindling revenue. We cannot afford to fritter away this collective patrimony on the altar of sharing money. As a nation, it appears all has been all about sharing and we must take heed.

I propose we use this money to set up reputable and world class cancer research and treatment centers to be domiciled in rural areas, set up agro processing and storage facilities in the Northern part of Nigeria and standard solid minerals laboratories and crushing plants across the states with deposit of solid minerals; and rehabilitation of primary schools across the 774 local governments. The rehabilitation must include set up of standard sports facilities and good sanitary systems in this school.

A part of the funds can be used to pay for two years medical insurance for selected vulnerable families across the country.

The jobs and opportunities that the agro storage and processing facility will create will be huge and this vulnerable homes will be uplifted, their kids will find opportunity in the rehabilitated primary schools and two years health insurance will both create unimaginable opportunities in the health sector and this vulnerable men and women can walk into the hospital and have access to health care. A healthy man, they say, can conveniently fight for economic survival.

The funds must be well used for special intervention projects that will increase capacity of our rural dwellers to make wealth.

I plead with Buhari, kindly take heed and have a deep rethink about the usage of these funds so posterity can be kind on you.

Afolabi, an accountant, is based in Lagos


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