Mozambique’s ex-Justice Minister Jailed: Why Nigeria Has a Long Way to go

Generally, depending on the kind – and also level –  of sickness, it is not so disturbing to be sick; Sickness, after all, is part of life. However, it becomes dangerous, and indeed worrisome, if the sickness seems incurable.

For sure, anyone – I mean any honest, unbiased individual – looking at the Nigerian political terrain does not need to go further to the Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua or any religious charlatans to foresee that Nigeria is not only endemically sick, its cure seems a dream. Yes, dream, in the sense that you do not only need a good and qualified and experienced doctor to cure a sickness, the patient must equally show some degree of trust, willingness and readiness to be cured. Nigeria is a country, where stealing (you don’t mean a poor miserable thief who may have been forced to steal due to hunger, desperation and other biting economic malaises, do you?) is not only a norm, but the amount stolen determines the smartness – and level of qualification from the school of Stealing With Pen, for that matter –  of the thief. The bigger the amount stolen, the smarter and higher qualification you have. Welcome to Nigeria, a country where stealing in millions with the pen has become an archaic style, openly displaced by stealing in billions – with courage and impunity, of course. Only in Nigeria, it is irrelevant to many how you have made your money, as far as you are rich. Nigeria is a contradictory terrain, where billionaire thieves are respected, honoured, revered, bestowed with numerous traditional and religious titles and – don’t forget – protected by the same law meant to punish them. On the other hand, a poor thief on the street is arrested or in most cases, lynched by the same very people who have praised and tolerated the billionaire thieves that fastidiously stole and still steal their money, wealth, opportunities, welfare, and future – and those of their children. If this does not tell you the level of Nigeria’s sickness and depth of the abysmal pit the country is in, then follow me to Mozambique. I mean, leave Nigeria for a while and let’s go to Mozambique.

Here we are. Welcome to Mozambique, a beautiful country, once fully devastated by reckless war, but presently trying to bring some sanity back to the country. The latest news from Mozambique has it that the country’s former justice minister Abdul Remane Lino de Almeida has been sentenced to two years in jail for the misappropriation of public funds, which he allegedly used to pay the expenses of three non-government workers, who had accompanied him in 2016 to Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage. Dear respectable readers, kindly allow me to laugh a bit before we continue. Laugh a bit? Yes! Not because the stealing of any kind is acceptable. No! Far from that. Rather, my laughter is necessitated by the fact that a “mighty” powerful former justice minister is convicted for misspending “just” $28,000? You still don’t follow my gist? Ok, let’s go back to Nigeria. Welcome back! In the Nigerian political zone, where a former minister is accused of stealing more than 3 billion dollars, $28,000 is not up to what a personal gardener of a minister gives out as a gift to their lover.  I mean Nigeria, where bags and bags containing millions of dollars and other hard currencies were found intact in the houses and other personal domains, yet the owners are neither identified nor prosecuted by the Nigerian authorities. Isn’t worthy to praise Mozambique for their gallant courageous steps in judiciously tackling corruption in their country? If Nigeria could borrow such an admirable and seriously needed leaf from her brother Mozambique, some degree of sanity would be brought to the country. But Nigeria is indeed Nigeria; a uniquely interesting country. Worse still, the sick Nigeria is still lying in the intensive care unit, waiting for the doctor.  Why is the doctor waiting for ages to attend to this sick old man?

Back to Mozambique. Interestingly, the trial judge in the former justice minister Abdul Remane Lino de Almeida’s case, Justice Joao Guilherme insisted during the delivering of his sentence, that the sentence was meant to send a strong signal to those who misappropriate public funds. Justice Joao Guilherme went further to demand that the convicted former justice minister must refund the misused funds.

A former minister is convicted, sent to jail and asked to refund the stolen money in Nigeria? Continue dreaming! Convicted by whom? Convicted by the same “scratch my back and I scratch yours” Nigerian judges? Are you still scratching your head for an answer? You still don’t understand how incurable Nigerian sickness has become?  I beg, let me first take my siesta. Ahaa! Don’t forget to wake me up when you have the answers!

 

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