ONE: 136 people were killed yesterday when Boko Haram led a siege on the Nigerian Northeast. Roadside bombs, suicide attackers and gunmen ransacked the cities of Damaturu, Maiduguri and Potiskum just days ago. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks and the senseless deaths. Churches were burnt, police stations were bombed and a country was shocked, in a raid that lasted several hours. Boko Haram’s rain of terror began more than 2 years ago and it has claimed countable but uncounted lives. This organization has killed few foreigners and many faceless Nigerians living quiet lives in the North. The number will increase, if one is to add all the innocents, killed by the Nigerian military with its inept response to the insurgent terrorism. It is obvious that the official “carrots and sticks” policy is not working. An article written 4 months ago asks pertinent questions, the answers to which might help create a sensible policy to finally stop the organization’s thirst for Nigerian lives. The American Government warned it citizens just hours ago that Boko Haram might be planning an attack on the 3 biggest luxury hotels in Abuja, the country’s capital. Has the Nigerian state failed?
TWO: The Nigerian Senate, in its tireless work to stop corruption and improve the lives of its constituent, has condemned the work of the Pension Reform Task Force as institutionalized wickedness. The same wicked scheme uncovered 71,135 ghost workers that cost the country N28 billion annually. The very same wicked task force also found out that the administrators of the Civil Service dumped 44,320 real pensioners out of the system. Yet the Nigerian Senate resolved to force the president to direct relevant government agencies to desist from the subjection of pensioners to limitless verifications. What a Senate!
THREE: The Federal Government of Nigeria, moved to scold the British Aviation Industry for refusing to grant Nigeria’s biggest Airline, Arik Air, some landing slots at the Heathrow airport in London. The British Airways (BA) is now allowed to operate only 3 flights in and out of Lagos weekly. The BA has responded by slotting bigger aircrafts to service the same routes, thereby reducing its losses. We hope the reactionary move by the Nigerian Aviation Ministry will not result in huge increase in cost for Nigerian consumers. The embarrassment of the Aviation Minister is enough punishment.
FOUR: We reported some months back that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is corrupt, to collective yawn by every Nigerian reading. However, it seems that the NNPC’s corruption was previously underestimated. The organization conducting an audit of NNPC’s activities recently announced that between 2004 and 2008, “there were some unauthorized deductions amounting to N1.178 trillion”. Further, the corporation actually failed to remit N842 billion in oil revenues into federal accounts rather then the N450 billion that we previously reported. The leadership of the corporation is yet to reply to the allegations.
FIVE: Keeping with the corruption theme, Transparency International reported 2 days ago that Nigerian civil servants, among themselves, took N450 billion in bribes last year.
SIX: The alleged drug mule, Babe Suwe, a famous Nigerian movie star and comedian, was released on bail last Friday afternoon. His release followed 23 days in NDLEA captivity after scans allegedly showed that he had drugs in his stomach. He denied the allegation and after a stomach pump and various search of his defecation, NDLEA still found nothing and were forced to let him go. He is suing the agency to the tune of 1 billion naira. While the entire case is amusing to many, it brings to question just how many Nigerians are rotting in our jails based on bogus evidence. It is frankly frightening.
SEVEN: The National Health Insurance Scheme is a failure, declared the Nigerian House of Representatives. The 6-year-old scheme created to pool Nigerian resources for paying for health has achieved nothing.
EIGHT: Nigeria ranks 120th in health, survival, political participation, educational attainment and political empowerment of its female citizens. The 2011 World Economic Forum Report also stated that the gap between males and females is reducing all over the world while Nigerian women are doing much worse.
NINE: Nigeria does not seem to have enough inept and inefficient states. To fill this great need, the President of the Idoma National Forum, Mr. Aju Ameh has called for the creation of an Apa State from the Benue South senatorial district. What a patriot!
TEN: More Nigerians now connect to the web through their mobile phones. Nigerian businesses, are you listening?