The Hausa would say “Alhamdu lillahi, ko a bakin kura” which may roughly be translated to mean “Thanks be to Allah even when in hyena’s mouth (as a meal)”. In this wise, Nigerians must give gratitude to Allah in spite of all the social dislocations, religious radicalisms, political disasters, economic underdevelopment, cultural deteriorations, infrastructural decays, die-hard patterns of indiscipline, world-record models of corruption, and other unmentioned disappointments the country have witnessed in the past 61 years as an independent nation. The fact that Nigeria survived all these challenges and remained one indivisible country is Allah’s choice for which we should express gratitude. Allah’s wisdom to create a heterogeneous, multi-religious and culturally diversified country called Nigeria is indeed the country’s heavy-duty strength.
Nigeria’s survival after over a decade of severe insurgency remains a myriad to those who predicted its disintegration about a decade earlier. This and other instances of Nigeria struggling in a dangerously stormy sea of underdevelopment may qualify it for a hybrid African country. Readers may even appreciate the hybrid nature of Nigeria more when they cast their mind to some recent but weird events in the country. Some of such weird cases will be recounted in the next few paragraphs. This, at least, may ‘lighten up’ some readers as they take time to rest and relax after observing this year’s ceremonials of Nigeria’s Independence Day celebration. But whether such weird are desirous of a developing country or not is a discussion for another day.
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We shall discuss, in the next few paragraphs, how Nigeria has fared on a path that is very undesirous of a country that desires to remain relevant globally. Some Nigeria’s world records in this wise include spending $16 billion on power sector with no megawatt added to national grid under the 16-year rule of former President Obasanjo. But that itself may just be a tip of today’s iceberg of the wonders in Nigeria. The September 12, 2021 edition of the Punch newspaper published a report that the country’s oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) paid its workers N69billion in year its plant generated zero revenue. It couldn’t have generated any because the plants did not process a single barrel of crude oil. The NNPC plants, which are located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have all been in a state of disrepair for several years.
According to a Daily Trust report, latest data from the NNPC showed that government-owned refineries in Nigeria recorded a total loss of N177.21 billion. An analysis of data collated from NNPC’s monthly reports revealed that all the refineries did not refine crude oil for 19 straight months, from July 2019 to January 2021. According to the NNPC data, the Kaduna refinery incurred an operating deficit of N64.84 billion from July 2019 to January 2021. Nigeria, the hybrid giant of …!
In another disturbing story published recently by the Daily Trust newspaper, it was reported that operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized over 24,311kg of heroin, codeine as well as Arizona and Colorado variants of cannabis in fresh drug busts at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja and the Tincan seaport, Apapa, Lagos State. This came barely a week after the agency intercepted N6 billion worth of Amphetamine, popularly known as jihadists’ drug at the Apapa port in Lagos. Spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, noted that the first seizure was on Friday 3rd September 2021 at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA where two consignments containing 10.350kg heroin and 25.2kg cannabis from South Africa were intercepted. If these hard drugs had escaped seizure by the NDLEA operatives, the monumental havoc that these substances would have had on young Nigerian boys and girls is better imagined.
The same report by the Daily Trust newspaper revealed that at the Tincan seaport, Apapa, narcotic officers intercepted a 40ft container loaded with 22,590kg of Barcadin Codeine syrup on Monday 6th September following intelligence received from international partners on the container since May 2021. “The container was also found to include 4,020.03kg of analgesic tablets and 47 cartons of insulated hot pots used to conceal the illicit drugs, all imported from India. “Equally, on Friday 10th September, a consignment of Colorado weighing 17.5kg and hidden inside a Grand Caravan Dodge vehicle shipped in a 40ft container from Montreal, Canada, was also intercepted and seized at the Tincan port,” Babafemi said.
Reacting to the series of arrests and seizures, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd), said the series of arrests and seizures across the country further affirm NDLEA’s zero tolerance for production, trafficking and abuse of any illicit substance. He warned that drug dealers who are yet to have a change of heart must be ready to contend with the agency. The separate huge circulation of hard substances are quite dangerous for the wellbeing of any country, but worse with a developing one.
When I wrote on this same occasion in 2020, I described Nigeria as a “Senior Citizen” that was not behaving the way a nation at that age should; lacking most of the expected attributes of an independent country at adulthood in spite of its huge human and material resources. That piece was full of lamentations, and I hoped that when I would be writing on Nigeria’s 61st birthday, there would be less to lament over. Unfortunately, history has repeated itself after another 365 days. As believers, we are not losing hope in our prayer that Nigeria shall one day make it. May Allah (SWT) guide us in our togetherness to redeem the country from its developmental challenges to become a respected ‘Senior Citizen’ among the Commonwealth of Nations, amin.