There was a time we were all Nigerians, then came a time we are either Southern Christians or Northern Muslims. This division has given birth to many other groups such as the extremists Boko Haram sect, Biafra agitators, Niger Delta Avengers, Fulani herdsmen and so forth.
Over the years, these groups have been causing a lot of havoc to the Nation. Many lives are being lose and national treasures being destroyed.
On the 5th AUGUST, 2016, Vanguard Newspaper quoted Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders as saying, “IF Boko Haram kills Christians and burns down churches, we will slay Muslims and raze down mosques. We want to warn them that we, the Niger Delta youths, in this 21st century will not accept the killing of innocent Christians or the burning of churches. That if they try it in the North or any part of Nigeria, we the Niger Delta youths will not see any Muslim or mosque in the Niger Delta”
The warning came following the threat issued by the new leader of the deadly sect Boko Haram, Abu Musab al-Barnawi that Christians in Nigeria will be the new target of the sect’s attacks, vowing that the sect will kill all Christians and “blow up every church that we are able to reach.”
Mr. al-Barnawi’s taped message said that Mr. Shekau had violated Islamic tenets by killing fellow Muslims, including members of the terrorist Islamist group, living a life of luxury with his wives, neglecting starving women and children, and failing to provide food and weapons for insurgent fighters.
All these brouhaha beg the question of our motto as a nation which stays “Unity, Peace and Progress”. It is rightly asserted that “United we will stand, divided we will fall”. It then comes for questioning, how “United”, “peaceful” or “progressive” we are and have made respectively.
Though, in the past one year of President Buhari’s administration, he has scored highly in the fight against insurgents and terrorism, he should not relent in ensuring that the boko haram extremists are drastically wiped off both from the North where they have strongholds and every other part of the country.
Meanwhile, there has been so much controversy with regards Nigeria’s 2016 budget. The budget has suffered many rejections before it was finally signed into law.
In the midst of these rejections, economy was busy collapsing, naira falling freely against strong major currencies. Poverty and hunger have been the other of the day. The masses can hardly feed three times a day.
Finally, on May 6, almost half of the year, Buhari signed the budget to law. But, as Nigerians await speed implementation of the law, another controversy hits the budget.
The sacked Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin had accused the speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of padding the budget.
Though, the speaker had stated that, there was no such word as “budget padding”, he has also claimed that, budget padding was not an offense.
In the midst of all these drama, Nigerians are patiently watching what the outcome would be.
It is one of Mr. President core agenda to fight corruption which he had since inception of office been fighting. He should be indeed glad that Mr. Jibrin has given him another avenue to achieve his aim but, unfortunately, the presidency had backed Dogara, denying that the budget was padded.
APC and the Presidency should be rest assured that Nigerian and of course, the world are watching with a keen interest in this case.
During the visit, the ex-chairman, Mr. Jibrin made to the DSS Headquarters, he was said to have made more damning revelations against Dogara, who he said had undermined President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war by padding his first ever budget to the tune of N281 billion, taking over N9 billion to his Bauchi State constituency alone.
He was quoted to have said, “Let me make further revelations here. In addition to the allegations I already made, the anti-corruption agencies should ask Speaker Dogara why on earth he collects N25 million every month just to spend it the way he wants.
“They should also ask him to provide proof of how he is funding his farm in Nasarawa State which was just few hectares six months ago and now miraculously expands to about 100 hectares with new buildings and state-of-the-art equipment worth millions as well as the mansion he has suddenly built in Wuse II within six months.”
A Nigerian proverb states that “He whose house is burning does not pursue rats”. But unfortunately, that is the case of our leaders.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had on Thursday, August 5, directed banks and authorised forex dealers to sell the Pilgrims Travelling Allowance, PTA, to intending Muslim pilgrims at a concessionary exchange rate of N197 to $1.
That is almost N8 billion for an exercise that does not benefit our economy. Many businesses are failing, parents are struggling to send their children to school, our hospitals are poorly resourced but that is how our government chooses to spend N8 billion. It is wrong for the government to use tax payer’s money to substitute for other revenue especially now that the minimum wage can not even buy one bag of rice.