His Grace Most Rev. Samuel Abidoye
His Grace Most Rev. Samuel Abidoye
By His Grace Most Rev (Dr) Samuel A. Abidoye
The on-going exposure about how the $2.1 billion earmarked for the enhancement of our security system, through the purchase of sophisticated weaponry for our military personnel in their encounters with the dreaded Boko Haram sect was actually expended, has helped to let Nigerians know what has been happening to our children in the military. It has cleared the air on why our soldiers abandoned the front, and turned tail from the enemies. It has also shed light on how the other ranks of a military force that was for many years running, praised in international peacekeeping exercises as one of the most disciplined in Africa, could not only disobey direct orders on engagement, but actually turned their weapons against their officers.
The patriotic boys were sent to the front, either with moribund, ineffective of inferior weapons, while their opponent, the Boko Haram sect, were armed with the latest, sophisticated arms; which the sect came in possession of, courtesy of the same senior officers that send the junior ranks to go and do battle. All these took place, while the military elites and their collaborators, serving personnel, retired and serving politicians, as well as corrupt businessmen, were busy sharing monies, closeted in air conditioned rooms. This is very, very unfortunate. It is very, very sad.
It was the disgrace of a nation, to see our soldiers’ pictures in the media across the world, escaping into neighbouring Cameroon. Thank heaven, Cameroon was close by; only God knew what would have happened to our children if a nation was not so close. Meanwhile, the people at home, not knowing the conditions under which our soldiers were operating, had started judging them. Unknown to us, some of those clucking their tongues against the deserting soldiers were those who made them fall into disgrace in the first instance. In fact, I am sure that it was the voices of those who shared the money meant for weapons that would have given our men the upper hands to win the war that were the loudest in the condemnation of the runaway soldiers.
Once again, I want to repeat it for emphasis, that Nigerian soldiers have always been better than other African countries’ soldiers when it comes to gallantry. What this meant was that their escaping to Cameroon was a last recourse for them. Only God and the judges that handled the case of our soldiers involved in the incident knew the details of the event. I believe that now that the reasons for the behaviours of the boys were known, the case would be revisited, and proper justice would be meted out.
The incident above, and revelations about how only about 55 individuals looted Nigeria blind to the tune of over N1 trillion, clearly shows how rich Nigeria is. I understand that part of the money so looted was the money recovered from late General Sani Abacha when he was in power. The money was repatriated from where it was stashed. Well, I hope a proper account would be taken of the present recovered loot. If Nigeria is so rich, I do not know why Nigerians should not share from the riches of their Motherland. That is why I agree with some of the palliatives being put in place by the present government. For instance, in the Daily Sun of Friday, January 15, 2016 on page 12, a caption reads: “FG reviews N5,000 unemployment stipend scheme.” The story was attributed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who was quoted as saying that while some of the beneficiaries will receive N5,000 under the cash conversion scheme, others will get N10,000, while some others may be given more than N15,000 in training.
Firstly, I strongly believe that N5,000 is too small when we look at what N1,000 can buy. Transport may take a whole chunk of the money; besides, even drinking water is not free any more. The National Assembly is busy insisting that there is nothing wrong in using huge sums of money to buy brand new Land Cruiser jeeps and other luxury cars for themselves, while the constituents they are representing are languishing in penury. More so, when those that left office before them, left cars that are still almost brand new. How can one compare the N5,000 stipends with the huge wages of the National Assembly members? Caution by the media and complaints by members of public that the economy of the country cannot, at the moment, permit such spending, especially now that oil price is very low, went unheeded. It appears that the House of Representative had made up its mind to buy 360 cars instead of 96 earlier on earmarked.
The Bible says in Leviticus 19:18, Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. Everybody is expected to love the other person; especially the politicians are expected to love the people that voted them into office. Some government employees have not received their salaries for more than four months, while the politicians are insisting on living luxurious lives. To agree to use such huge money for the purchase of cars shows that National Assembly members are not their brothers’ keepers. We are all Nigerians, and if some of our brothers and sisters are in the war front and we are not there, then, we must remember them and let decency dictate our behaviours.
* His Grace Most Rev (Dr) Samuel A. Abidoye is the Spiritual Head and Chairman of the Cherubim & Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide.