By Aliyu Nuhu
The federal government of Nigeria announced free rail tickets for Nigerians during the holidays, for ten good days. But the following day, all tickets went into an ambush of corruption, and people had to buy them at very exorbitant prices. As a matter of fact, people would have fared better if FG had not made the free offer. What went wrong?
As usual, with the shambolic government approach to issues, the process was left for corruption to dictate who gets and who doesn’t get the tickets. In addition, railway workers racketeered the process, leaving harpless Nigerians at their mercy. Government has its own problem, but we are our own worst enemies. We are wicked even to ourselves.
Even though not free, the airlines’ tickets are all being bought in advance by racketeers. You can’t book online. All flights have been booked, and you have to go to the airport and buy on the spot from touts and corrupt airline officials. A plane ticket from Abuja to Kano goes for 95,000 instead of 30,000. The worst is that the tickets are not bearing people’s names. So in the event of an accident, the families of victims will have serious problems with airlines and insurance companies. It also compromises internal security.
The federal government wanted to give rice millers N10m loans each as a loan. But right from the onset, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) itself sabotaged the process through corruption. NIRSAL was the disbursing agency. CBN appointed a vendor to receive the money and give the millers equipment worth ten million naira. But the vendor supplies goods that are only worth six million in the market. He makes cool four million doing nothing while the millers are saddled with ten million debt. This is Nigeria. Corruption finds official approval, and the rest of Nigerians keyed in.
This country is beyond redemption. No one can save Nigeria. We are too wicked, too lawless, too selfish and just too corrupt to allow our country to work. We corrupt everything!
Aliyu writes from Abuja, Nigeria.