Friday, 19 July 2013

Article: The Absurdities Of An Unaccountable State


Jaye Gaskia

Where do we begin from? Well, let us start by explaining what we mean by impunity and why it is important for us as a people to confront it head-on, reject, and resist it in its totality!

By impunity we mean the lawless acts of institutions and personnel of state that undermine the very fabric of legality and constitutionalism, and jeopardize legitimacy, thus undermining the very foundations of human civilisation and societal existence.

In this write up we intend to go through a litany of acts of impunity by the state and the ruling elites that compromise and jeopardize our collective existence as a people and nation. It is important to know that these acts are social, political and economic in nature, and that their combined effect is such that it retards our national development and impoverishes an increasing majority of citizens.

In general terms on the economy, the Federal government has ‘invested more than N2tn in special intervention funds targeted at various sectors of the economy [including Agriculture – N200bn; Aviation – N300bn; N300bn on Power Intervention; N75bn on grooming enterprise leadership; N32bn entertainment intervention fund; N100bn Textile intervention fund; N126bn Export expansion grant; N200bn indigenous pharmaceutical intervention fund; N300bnHotel & Leisure intervention fund; N7,5bn to 25 companies from national automotive intervention fund;N200bn small & medium scale enterprise grant;N200bn restructuring & refinancing fund; etc  since 2010, yet absolutely nothing has been shown as positive results of such intervention funds.

Industrial capacity utilisation continues to hover around 35% of installed capacity, with more than 1,000 large scale enterprises closing shop between 2000 and 2010, accompanied by more than 2,000,000 million job loss [776,000 job loss from the textile industry alone]from those shut down enterprises.

At another level, according to the Adamu Fika Presidential committee on reform of the public service, since July 2007; salaries of just 18,000 top federal civil servants and state personnel have gulpedN1.23tn annually, much more than the entire annual federal capital vote for any single year since 1999.

Let us turn to the oil (petroleum sector); inspite of the more than N20bn in combined annual maritime and oil pipelines security contracts to just 5 militant ‘Generals’ from the Niger Delta [excluding recent reports of a new multi-billion naira contract to one of the OPC factions]; the country continues to lose approximately 250,000 to 350,000 barrels of crude oil, and several million liters of refined products monthly, at a combine annual loss of $10bn to crude oil and refined products theft, with an average annual incidence of more than 1,500 cases of pipe lines vandalism being reported. According to the NNPC, between 2002 and 2012 16,083 pipelines breaks were recorded with only 1,398 attributed to mechanical faults.

Meanwhile according to NEITI, the FGN is owed N1.536tn [$9.6bn] in non remitted revenue by the International Oil Corporations [IOCs] operating in Nigeria.

And with respect to the vexed Oil subsidy scam corruption conduit pipe; subsidy claims rose from less than N600bn in 2010 to more than N2.7tn in 2011 with spurious claims for 60 million liters per day of imported refined products. And although as a direct consequence of the January Uprising, the subsidy claims have drastically reduced and fallen to the pre 2011 levels of claims for less than 40 million liters per day of PMS, sharp practices continue to be witnessed in this subsector of the industry. So for instance although NNPC claimed by March 2013 to be refining 10 million liters of PMS per day through the domestic refineries; PPPRA claims it has no record of such production capacity or input into the economy, and continues to pay for claims of 39 million liters of PMS per day from importers. And although the Federal Ministry of Finance could not verify N232bn in subsidy claims in 2012, only N29bn of this amount has been recovered from the indicted marketers. Yet inspite of this unprecedented scale of fraud and treasury looting in the subsidy regime, not a single marketer has been successfully prosecuted, nor has any single personnel of the petroleum ministry or any of its parastatals, including the NNPC been indicted, let alone prosecuted. Nevertheless it is inconceivable that the level of fraud in this sector could have been undertaken without official connivance or at the very least negligence.

What is even more amazing is that whereas since 1999 over $12bn has been expended on Turn Around Maintenances [TAMs] of the four domestic government owned moribund refineries, nevertheless, capacity utilisation at these refineries have not exceeded 50% of installed capacity!

We have also been told that since 1999 over N1.4tn has been spent on 34,000 KMs of Federal roads, without any appreciable improvement in the condition of roads in the country. Instead, more than N250bn is needed in additional funding for instance to complete the East West Road project, a road project that has been funded by successive governments since 1983.

And from the National Assembly’s oversight committees investigations between 2010 and 2012, we learn that over N850bn in accumulated solid minerals development fund, as well as, over N400bn in accumulated ecological funds between 2000 and 2012 have been misappropriated by the FGN; while the country’s landscape is littered with approximately 12,000 abandoned infrastructural projects [excluding NDDC projects of which less than 30% have been completed, with more than 40% abandoned], at the combined cost of N7.7tn and with more than N2.2tn paid in mobilisation fees.

In the power sector, despite more than $25bn investment since 1999, total power generation capacity has not exceeded 4,500MWs from the average of 2,000MWs in 2000. Significantly, inspite of this huge investment no significant improvement on power distribution capacity has been recorded with the result that in 2012 alone there were 24 system failures, while in 2013 there has been 15 power system failures; resulting from the inability of the national grid to accommodate more than 3,500 to 4,000MWs of generated power.

To put this in perspective, in December 2012 when power generation was about 4,000MWs, the pick demand during the same period was approximately12, 000MWs; and according to the projections in the Vision2020:20 document, Nigeria requires to acquire a power generation and distribution capacity of 88,000MWs in order to sustain economic and domestic activity that will enable it rank 20thamongst the 20 largest economies in the world!

And in the public service, the situation is no different. The FGN has announced the saving of N118bn annually from over 200 MDAs, being salaries and allowances hitherto paid to Ghost workers. Yet no single official has been implicated, indicted, let alone prosecuted or punished. How is it possible that legers will be prepared and salary checks issued to ghost workers without the complicity of any official?
There have also been allegations from the pension reform task force that more than N3.3tn is missing from pension funds cutting across different agencies of government.

Furthermore, according to NASS a total of 60 revenue generating agencies generated and failed to remit to the federation account a total of N9.1tn between 2009 and 2012.

And according to a Punch Newspaper investigation, between June 2010 and July 2012 alone, there were more than N5tn combined in reported cases of corruption across the country. This is approximately the size of the 2013 Federal budget and amounts to a monthly theft rate of slightly over N220bn.

At the political level this impunity is expressed in the emasculation and undermining of state institutions; the flagrant and incessant violation of the constitution; the undermining of the Justice system and emasculation of the judiciary as an autonomous arm of government; the complete and total absence of internal democracy within the political parties; the emasculation of the Local Government Councils by the state governments; and the emergent crisis in the Nigeria Governor’s Forum [NGF] as well as the tragedy unfolding in Rivers state.

It is also manifested in the disdainful manner with which the poor, that is the majority of the population at 70%, is treated by this ruling class in power as well as in opposition. For example rather than provide affordable housing for the poor, this ruling class engages in routine demolition of their homes and neighbourhoods, and in the consequent eviction of the poor, thereby making many more millions homeless. 

The livelihoods of the poor are also not left out of the biased, class bigoted targeting for destruction. The means of living of the poor are routinely criminalised and destroyed, accompanied by constant harassment. It is as if after their greed and light fingered treasury looting spree has impoverished the immense majority of the masses, their solution to poverty and the scourge of the poor, is not to eradicate poverty, but to eradicate the poor by driving them into their early graves!

Furthermore, in the political arena, we find the competitive accumulation of weapons, competitive arming of jobless youths, and the competitive establishment of private armies by the politicians, in their fierce contestation for control of political tuff as a means of accessing control of state power. This low intensity armed struggle then drives and intensifies the antagonistic nature of the competitive drive towards primitive accumulation; and thence the increasingly grandiose scale and scope of corruption and treasury looting unfolding in the country.

At the social level, one single unfortunate and irrational case suffices to illustrate this impunity by a ruling class accustomed to undermining our collective well being while getting away with routine and serial violations of our rights.

A ruling class that self righteously criminalises and punishes with long jail terms, consensual sex by adults [gay sex], goes right ahead almost immediately to legitimize and institutionalise the violation and brutalization of underage girls by old men under the guise of marriage! Let there be no iota of doubts about this; this is not about child marriage, it is about child rape; and all those who play any role in perpetrating or perpetuating this crime against humanity will be rounded up and punished when we Take Back Our Country from these Gangs of Bandits!

The combined effect of these multiple impunities has been the increasing impoverishment of the people, with more than 69% [112million people] living in poverty; more than 30 million going to bed hungry; 10% of the world’s out of school children [the highest in Africa]; 11% of global Under 5 Child Mortality [the second highest rate in the world]; second highest HIV/AIDS incidence rate in Africa; record homelessness, with more than 11 million housing deficit; and record general [at 28%] and youth [45%] unemployment rates!

To put this in perspective; Recently 16,000 applicants applied for 100 Federal Judicial Service Commission openings, while 22,000 youths applied for 3,000 Osun state SURE-P positions.

Additionally, whereas 10% top richest Nigerians own 41% of national wealth, while 10% of bottom Nigerians own a mere 4.1% of national wealth [50% of Nigerians own 20% of National wealth]. And this in a context where the Richest African is a Nigerian [with one company alone accounting for 33% of the value of the Nigeria Stock Exchange – NSE]; while the richest Black Woman is also a Nigerian.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from all of these is that the Nigeria Ruling Elite is a failed elite; that it has become the albatross hanging round the nation’s neck, and weighing down her national development and citizen welfare; and that this elite [its political and economic wings inclusive] have become the single most significant obstacle to the development and advancement of human civilisation in our country.
It is therefore up to us as active citizens to take concrete collective steps towards overthrowing this inept, treasury looting, and light fingered ruling class; supplant it; and consign it to the thrash heap and dustbin of history.

The condition for our collective social emancipation, and our genuine national liberation, is the removal from power of these treacherous unpatriotic and greedy ruling elite.

Against the background of global crisis and resistance, within the context of the global resurgence of popular power, we have a historic opportunity going into the 2015 general elections, to organise ourselves politically, independently of the different factions of this ruling class, and autonomously of any of its power brokers [and or Godfathers]; and seizing the historic moment, organise our freedom from the death grip of their pestilential rule.

We have reached that point in our historical march towards civilisation, where failure to take immediate concrete steps and action towards ending the impunity of these ruling elites imperils our collective survival, and endangers our collective well being and societal advancement.

It is our country, let us take it back from these swarm of locusts! Let Us Take Back Nigeria Now!

(Visit: takebacknigeria.blogspot.com; Follow me on twitter: @jayegaskia & @protesttopower; Interract with me on Facebook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria)


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